Washington, D.C. — Direct care workers are essential to keeping the care economy humming, yet these workers often do not receive fair benefits or compensation for their work. A new report examines the low wages and inadequate benefits that the direct care workforce faces and the disproportionate impact this has on women of color.
As the population continues to age, the demand for direct care workers is only expected to grow. Yet, direct care workers earn the fifth-lowest average hourly wage among U.S. occupations. In May 2022, direct care workers earned an average of $32,440 per year, below the national average living wage for an adult with no children ($36,311). In this workforce, women, especially women of color, are disproportionately represented. This report examines how women of color are disproportionately affected by low wages and limited benefits, as well as what actions policymakers must take on the federal level to guarantee higher job quality for all direct care workers.
“Women of color make up 20 percent of the general labor force yet make up 86 percent of the direct care workforce. There must be action taken on the federal level to improve wages and benefits for workers providing essential care so that workers have a living wage. The U.S. population is aging rapidly, and demand for direct care workers is only going to grow,” said David Madland, senior fellow and senior adviser to the American Worker Project at the Center for American Progress.
Read the report: “Direct Care Worker Pay and Benefits Are Low Despite High Demand for Services” by Claire Connacher
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