How Are Black Women Doing in America? Here Are A Few Facts To Feed Your Curiosity

November 15, 2013  |  

A new fact sheet delves into statistics about the big picture for African-American women from an educational and economic standpoint, Center for American Progress reports.

There is some good news! Among the black population, African-American women earned more than 50 percent of all degrees in the science and the engineering field. This figure far surpasses the degrees obtained by black men. But when we compare black women to the female population as a whole, this is where the bad news seeps in. Of all the bachelor’s degrees earned by women, African-American women only hold 8.6 percent of them.

Women in total make up about a quarter of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce — black women, in particular, only take up two percent of STEM employees.

But don’t let this piece of data discourage you! More black women are becoming their own bosses and turning to entrepreneurship. “African American-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the women-owned business market,” CAP adds. These businesses are sprouting up six-times higher than the national rate — between 1997 and 2013, businesses by African-American women grew 258 percent!

There are an estimated 1.1 million black women-owned businesses in America and all have generated a combined $44.9 billion in revenue and have employed 272,000 workers.

Unfortunately, for women who choose to be an employee rather than an employer, statistics do not emerge in their favor. Compared to white women and black men, African-American women continue to take home lower earnings — Caucasian women earned a median of $718 a week while black men earned $666; black women only earned $610 a week.

The unemployment rate isn’t looking too great either. About 11 percent of Black women are jobless while only six percent of white women are in the same boat. CAP also highlights the dramatic dichotomy in African-American income between single and married households: “Married or cohabiting African American households have a median wealth of $31,500 while single African American women have a median wealth of only $100. African American women with children, however, have zero median wealth.”

On a happier note though, CAP adds that teenage birth rates among Black women between 2011 and 2012 has plunged by seven percent.

In a nutshell, these statistics show that although black women have made significant steps in the right direction, the gender and racial disparities are still too conspicuous. There is still a disappointing lack of black female representation among STEM workers, politicians (only 14 black women in Congress), and high-income earners.

“This fact sheet provides a snapshot […] that should guide our choices to enact sensible policies to unleash the potential of this growing demographic and benefit our economy,” CAP concludes.

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