The Labor Force Participation and Earnings Gap among African Immigrant Women in the United States

Yanyi K. Djamba, Auburn University
Esther Crystelle Eyinga Dimi, Institut de Formation et de Recherche Démographiques (IFORD)

We use the 5% IPUMS data to examine changes in size and composition of the female African immigrant population in the US and differences in the labor force participation and earnings between black and white African immigrant women during the period of 1980-2010. The results show that the female African immigrant population increased by an annual average growth rate of 25 percent between 1980 and 2010, with a much higher growth among black female Africans (89%) than whites (6%). The racial composition shifted from a white majority (68%) in 1980 to a black majority (74%) in 2010. We found that the white advantage echoed in previous research had disappeared in 2010 when black African women became more likely to be in the labor force participation and to earn higher income than their white counterparts. Such results challenge the labor queue theory.

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Presented in Session 19: Diasporas and Ethno-Racial Inequality