Knowledge Center

Women of Color in the United States


Women of Color Will Be the Majority of All Women in the United States by 20501

Percent of Total Women in US Population (2015) 2 

Percent of Total Women in US Population (2050)3 

White (not Hispanic)61.7%47.5%
Hispanic or Latino17.1%25.8%



Latinas and Asian Women Will Make Up a Larger Percentage of the US Labor Force

Between 20142024 the projected percentage increase in the labor force of women by race or ethnicty4

  • 30.3% = Increase of Hispanic women in labor force.

  • 24.3% =  Increase of Asian women in labor force

  • 11.3% =  Increase of African American women in labor force.

  • -2.1% = Increase of white women in labor force.




Less Than One in 10 of Science and Engineering Employees Are Women of Color5
  • African American women = 2%
  • Hispanic Women = 2%
  • Asian Women = 5%


Women of Color Have a Greater Wage Gap 6

African American women working full-time earn 64 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanic men earn7

  • Latinas working full-time earn only 56 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanic men earn.8 

Women of Color Represent Almost Half of the Low-Wage Workforce 9
  • African American women make up a larger percentage of the low-wage workforce (11.6%) than of the overall workforce (6.1%).10
  • Hispanic women make up 15.0% of the low-wage workforce.11
  • Asian, Hawaiian and/or Pacific Islander women make up 4.4% of the low-wage workforce.12
Women of Color Remain Underrepresented in Leadership Positions

Of all board seats held by women of the S&P500, women of color make up just 19.8%.13

  • African American women hold 11.7% of those board seats.14
  • Latinas hold 4.4% of those board seats.15
  • Asian women hold 3.7% of those board seats.16

 Women of color make up 4.5% of executive/senior-level officials and managers.17 

  • Women of color represent 9.5% of all first/mid-level officials and managers.18 


In the 114th US Congress, 104 members are women and 33 (6.2% of total), are women of color.19

  • Eighteen members are African American.20
  • Nine members are Latina.21


The College Graduation Rate for Women of Color Continues to Rise22 


Of total bachelor's degrees earned by women in 2012–2013,, the percentage of those earned by women of color:23

  • African American = 12.1%
  • Latina = 11%
  • Asian/Pacific Islander = 6.9%


Of total business degrees earned by women in 2012–2013, the percentage of those earned by women of color:24

  • African American: 14.5%
  • Latina: 10.8%
  • Asian / Pacific Islander: 7.6%


The Number of Women of Color Earning Science and Engineering Degrees Is Growing25

In the past 20 years, the proportion of degrees in Science and Engineering earned by women of color has doubled.26

Women of color earn proportionally more science and engineering degrees than do men of color (especially bachelor’s degrees).27 


In 2012–13, of the total number of computer and information science degrees earned by women, the percentage of those earned by women of color:28

  • African American: 18.2%

  • Latina: 9.7%

  • Asian / Pacific Islander: 11.3%


Of total engineering degrees earned by women, the percentage of those earned by women of color:29

  • African American: 5.3%
  • Latina: 8.9%
  • Asian / Pacific Islander: 14.4%


Additional Resources

Catalyst, Still Too Few: Women Of Color On Boards (March 17, 2015).

Catalyst, Missing Pieces: Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards—2012 Alliance For Board Diversity Census (2013).

Catalyst, The Diversity Dividend: Women of Color (October 6, 2015).

The National Minority Business Council Inc.

Black Women Connect


DEFINITION: The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires federal agencies to use a minimum of five race categories: White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. Note that Hispanic  is defined as an ethnic heritage and people who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be any race.30


Non-resident aliens are not included in the calculation for people of color.

Data is based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census. Comparable data is not available for all groups.


How to cite this product: Catalyst. Quick Take: Women of Color in the United States. New York: Catalyst, February 1, 2016.