Knowledge Center

Women of Color in the United States

Women of Color Will Be the Majority of All Women in the United States by 20601
 
 

Percent of Total Women in US Population (2015)2 

Percent of Total Women in US Population (2060)3 

White (not Hispanic or Latina) 61.7% 43.8%
Hispanic or Latina 17.1% 27.9%
Black 12.7% 13.3%
Asian 5.5% 9.4%

 

Hispanic 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 ethnicity:4

  • 30.3%: Increase of Hispanic women in the labor force.
     

  • 24.3%: Increase of Asian women in the labor force.
     

  • 11.3%: Increase of Black women in the labor force.
     

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



Less Than Two in Ten of Science and Engineering Employees Are Women of Color

In 2015:5

  • Black women: 2.0%

  • Hispanic Women: 2.0%

  • Asian Women: 7.0%

Women of Color Have a Greater Wage Gap

In 2016:6

  • Black women working full-time earned 63 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanics earned.

  • Hispanic women working full-time earned only 54 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanics earned.

  • Asian women working full-time earned 87 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanics earned.

 
Women of Color Represent Almost Half of the Low-Wage Workforce7

In 2013:8

  • Black women made up 17.6% of the low-wage workforce.

  • Hispanic women made up 22.8% of the low-wage workforce.

  • Asian, Hawaiian and/or Pacific Islander women make up 6.7% of the low-wage workforce.

Women of Color Remain Underrepresented in Leadership Positions
 

Of all board seats in the Fortune 500 in 2016:9

  • Women of color made up just 3.8%.
  • Black women held 2.2% of those board seats.

  • Hispanic women held 0.8% of those board seats.

  • Asian women hold 0.8% of those board seats.

 Women of color make up 5.0% of executive/senior-level officials and managers.10 

  • Women of color represent 9.8% of all first/mid-level officials and managers.11

In the 115th US Congress, 105 members are women and 38 members (7.1% of the total 535 members), are women of color.12

  • In the US Senate:13

    • Two members are Asian/Pacific Islander.

    • One member is a Hispanic woman.

    • One member is multiracial.

  • In the US House:14

    • Eighteen members are Black.

    • Nine members are Hispanic women.

    • Seven members are Asian/Pacific Islander.

The College Graduation Rate Continues to Rise for Most Women of Color15 

 

Of total bachelor's degrees earned by US citizen women in 2014–2015, the percentage of those earned by women of color:16

  • Hispanic: 12.5%

  • Black: 11.8% (this percentage has decreased each year since its high of 12.3% in 2011–12)

  • Asian/Pacific Islander: 7.0%

Of total business degrees earned by women in 2014–2015, the percentage of those earned by women of color:17

  • Black: 13.1%

  • Hispanic: 11.9%

  • Asian/Pacific Islander: 7.7%

The Number of Women of Color Earning Science and Engineering Degrees Is Growing18
 

In the past 20 years, the proportion of graduate degrees in Science and Engineering earned by women of color has more than doubled.19


Women of color earn proportionally more science and engineering degrees than do men of color (especially bachelor’s degrees).20

 

Of the total computer and information science degrees earned by women in 2014-2015, the percentage of those earned by women of color:21

  • Asian/Pacific Islander: 14.8%

  • Black: 14.7%

  • Hispanic: 9.3%

Of total engineering degrees earned by women in 2014-2015, the percentage of those earned by women of color:22

  • Asian/Pacific Islander: 13.6%

  • Hispanic: 10.0%

  • Black: 5.0%

Additional Resources

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

Alliance for Board Diversity/Deloitte, Missing Pieces Report: The 2016 Board Diversity Census of Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards (2017).

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

The National Minority Business Council Inc., "Welcome to the National Minority Business Council."

Black Women Connect, "Black Women Connect."
 


DEFINITION: The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) require 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.23

 

How to cite this product: Catalyst, Quick Take: Women of Color in the United States (October 12, 2017).