Race and ethnicity significantly affect the employment opportunities and earnings of workers, hence their livelihoods and economic well-being. Racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to have lower incomes and higher poverty rates than white Americans. These disparities are largely due to earnings differentials and labor markets egregation; research on racial differences in earnings and employment suggest that discrimination is a factor in these outcomes. The result is reduced economic wel-being that affects minority populations in many aspects of their lives, including their ability to pay their bills, meet their rent or mortgage obligations, and receive medical treatment. Because of the nexus of race and gender, women of color are especially at risk of lower standards of living and economic well-being; women of color work in the lowest-paid jobs and have lower earnings than both minority men and white women. In this chapter, I examine the economic status of racial and ethnic minorities, and especially women of color in the US, regarding their earnings, income, and jobs (Sections II and III). I describe the various explanations for lower economic outcomes, including how employment discrimination can lead to lower pay, income and economic well-being (Sections IV and V). I then explore the ways researchers have examined this issue as well as the results they have found (Section VI). Section VII concludes.
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