During much of U.S. history, Black women had higher employment rates than white women. But by the late twentieth century, women in more privileged racial/ethnic, national origin, and education groups were more likely to work for pay. The authors compare the employment of white women to Blacks and three groups of Latinas - Mexicans, Cubans, and Puerto Ricans-and explain racial/ethnic group differences. White women work for pay more weeks per year than Latinas or Black women, although the gaps are small for all groups but Mexicans. In all groups, education encourages and children reduce employment. Having a husband does not reduce employment, and husbands' earnings have little effect. The higher fertility of Mexicans and the large number of recent immigrants among Mexican women reduce their employment relative to that of white women. The higher education of white women explains large shares of the employment gap with each group of women of color because, in today's labor market, education strongly predicts employment.
- Labor force participation
- Women of color
- Women's employment
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science