Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity, 2008

Families and mothers

  • The likelihood of having an employed family member declined from 2007 to 2008 for white, black, and Hispanic families, and was littled changed for Asian families. Asian families remained the most likely to have an employed family member (90 percent) in 2008, followed by Hispanic families (87 percent) and white families (82 percent). Black families remained the least likely to have an employed family member (78 percent). (See table 8.)
  • In 2008, nearly one-half (44 percent) of black families and about one-quarter (24 percent) of Hispanic families were maintained by women (with no spouse present). About 12 percent of Asian families and 15 percent of white families were maintained by women. In general, families maintained by women are less likely to have an employed member than other families.
  • Historically, black mothers with children under 18 have been more likely than white mothers with children under 18 to be in the labor force. In 2008, 76.7 percent of black mothers were labor force participants, compared with 70.8 percent of white mothers. In contrast, Hispanic women with children under 18 typically have lower levels of labor force participation than either black or white mothers. In 2008, 61.4 percent of Hispanic mothers were in the labor force. Asian mothers (68.8 percent) were more likely than Hispanic mothers to be in the labor force, but less likely than black or white mothers. Since 1996, the labor force participation rates of Hispanic mothers and black mothers have grown by 4.7 and 3.4 percentage points, respectively, while the rate for white mothers has remained about the same. (See table 9.)


Last Modified Date: December 4, 2009