Press Release Health and Social Programs Poverty United States

Low-Wage Home Health Care Occupations Exacerbate Poverty, Particularly for Women of Color

October 27, 2021

Contact: KL Conner, 202-281-4159Mail_Outline

Washington DC — The wages of home health aides fail to lift many full-time workers out of poverty. A new article from the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows how this occupation, which is poised to expand rapidly, risks expanding gender, racial, and ethnic income inequality as it grows.

This analysis by CEPR researchers Anaïs Goubert, Julie Yixia Cai, and Eileen Appelbaum finds Black and Latinx women make up more than half of the occupation, and approximately 20 percent of each of the two groups live in households with poverty income, about 7 to 8 percentage points higher than that of white male home health aides.

The impending increase in this low-wage occupation raises concerns about the economic well-being of home health aides and their families. In the absence of policy interventions to raise pay, its growth signals an expansion of the low-wage labor market. It is vital to raise wages, ensure sufficient hours, and enhance training opportunities associated with jobs in this industry. 

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