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  • Ryan Wittler

Black Women Are Disproportionately Concentrated in Low-wage, Hazardous Healthcare Jobs


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A new study from researchers at the University of Minnesota has found that while Black women are overrepresented in healthcare, they’re disproportionately concentrated in some of the industry’s lowest paying and most dangerous jobs.


Some highlights:


According to the study, Black women make up 6.9% of the total U.S. labor force, yet 13.7% of the nation’s healthcare workforce, roughly double the rate of representation. Overall, the study found over one in five Black women in the U.S. labor force are employed somewhere in the healthcare industry (22.7%).


The study found Black women in healthcare are heavily concentrated in long-term care, representing 23.0% of such workers, while just 12.1% of hospital workers and 9.6% of those in ambulatory care. White women are more evenly represented, making up 40.8% of long-term care workers, 47.2% of hospital workers, and 48.6% of workers in ambulatory care.


Taken together, the researchers found Black women face a much higher predicted probability of ending up in low-wage, hazardous jobs in the industry compared to white women, men, and other demographic groups.


Why it matters:


The study found white women are more concentrated among registered nurses (61.3%) and therapists (56.1%). They also represent 22.9% of physicians, while Black women represent just 3.2%.


According to the researchers, while the healthcare industry includes various jobs, the ones Black women are most concentrated in “are characterized by low wages, lack of benefits, and hazardous working conditions.”


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