Reporting and technical writing. Sunday - Nov 19, 2017

Reverse Gender Gap

African Americans are the only racial segment that, alarmingly, has more women in the labor force than men.


Mouse over this interactive chart to see figures (in millions) compiled from 2010 and 2012 sets of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

While men in most racial groups still outnumber the respective women, only among black workers do women already outnumber men. That shift occurred at some point during the 1980s. The 1980 census showed that black men began that decade still outnumbering women in the labor force but by the 1990 census, black women slightly outnumbered black men. Still, 2016 and 2018 projections may indicate that black men could, once again, be slightly shrinking that gap, even if more women ultimately remain.

Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that overall, there are more men in the U.S. labor force than women, yet because women are entering the labor force at a faster pace, the number of women could someday surpass men. This is partially because the types of work that are in increasing availability are no longer heavy-lifting types that men have traditionally done. Instead, the jobs landscape is becoming so service oriented that women aren’t at a physical disadvantage anymore. But there are even more factors at play in the African American segment which have already caused this shift to occur.

This is a simple chart but that’s because it shows very simple data. My goal is to delve deeper and gather additional data that’ll help explain this phenomenon beyond speculative guesswork as to why there’s already this inverse imbalance in the black labor force.

Where Men Still Outnumber Women

State by state sampling figures from the year 2000 (based on American Fact Finder “Employment Status by Sex for black population” data) reveal that women outnumber men in high population states, however in 20 low population states, men still outnumber women (explore this data):

Geo view