Black Women Face Structural Racism In Health Care Jobs!, By Trina Reed Posted April 25th 2022

Black women are more widely represented in health care than any other demographic group, yet they’re concentrated in its lowest-wage and most hazardous jobs, according to a study published yesterday in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: The study was among several examining racism and health in Health Affairs released Monday in the medical journal’s first issue devoted entirely to the topic.

By the numbers: The study, led by the University of Minnesota, used data from the American Community Survey and found that while Black women make up about 7% of the U.S. labor force, they make up nearly 14% of the health care workforce.

  • Overall, about 23% of Black women in the labor force work in health care, and 65% work in licensed practical nurse or aide occupations. 40% work in long-term care.

What they’re saying: “Structural racism in the labor market, linked to historical legacies of slavery and domestic service, has had a strong impact on shaping the health care workforce,” the authors write.

  • The authors call for raising wages across the low-wage end of the sector, making more accessible career ladders, and addressing racism in the workforce pipeline.