African American women are the head of 29% of all African American households which is more than twice the rate for ‘all women’ at 13%. These are households defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as having a female head and no spouse present.
Only 33% of African American women who gave birth were married which is almost the opposite for ‘all women’ at 64%.
These additional responsibilities may also explain why African American women are slightly over-represented in the workforce compared to all women and even higher than African American men (67%).
Even though African American women are over-represented in the workforce they still have a higher unemployment rate than ‘all women’, 6% to 10% respectively. All of these factors help explain the higher poverty rate for African American women (29%) than ‘all women’ at 17%.
African American women ages 16 to 64 had a higher participation rate in the labor force (71%) compared to ‘all females’ (69%.) Labor force participation refers to the percent of women who were either working or looking for work. Women not in the labor force include those who may be full time students, disabled, and others who are not looking or gave up looking for employment for other reasons.
36% of African American women who worked full time all year in 2015 had median earnings of $33,780 compared to $38,097 for ‘all women.’– ages 16 to 64 years old, 25% had no earnings in 2015 which was higher than the 26% with no earnings of ‘all females’ in the same age group. Also a larger percentage of African American women 16 to 64 were unemployed than for ‘all females’ (9.6% compared to 5.8%) and were living below the poverty level (29%) than ‘all females’ (17%).
Compared to ‘all women’ in the United States African American women who worked were less likely to work in occupations that may be considered white collar and were much more likely to hold service jobs. Only 64% of working African American women held white collar jobs compared to 72% of ‘all women.’ For the purpose of the above table white collar occupations include but are not limited to jobs in management, business, computers, office, legal, education, etc.
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