The occupational segregation of Black women in the United States

Working Paper 2013-304


Based on harmonized and detailed occupation titles and making use of measures that do not require pair-wise comparisons among demographic groups, this paper shows that the occupational segregation of Black women dramatically declined from 1940 to 1980 (especially in the 1960s and 1970s), it slightly decreased from 1980 to 2000, and it remained stagnated in the first decade of the 21st century. To assess the reduction in segregation, this paper extends recent measures that penalize the concentration of Black women in low-paid jobs and finds that the integration process slightly reversed after 2000. Regarding the role that education has played, this study highlights that only from 1990 onward, Black women with either some college or university degrees have lower segregation (as compared with their peers) than those with lower education. Nevertheless, in 2010, Black women with university degrees still tend to concentrate in occupations that have wages below the average wage of occupations that high-skilled workers fill.

Authors: Olga Alonso-Villar, Coral del Rio.

Keywords: occupational segregation, local segregation measures, race, gender, Black women, status, wages, United States.
JEL: J15, J16, J71, D63.