Caregiving Burdens May Be Holding Black Women Back Financially

Photo: Flickr/NYCArthur

A new Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation study has thrown the differences between financial burdens faced by blacks and whites into even deeper relief. When it comes to paying bills and applying for loans, black women are disproportionately at a disadvantage compared to their white counterparts.

The study, which polled nearly 2,000 men and women, brings into question whether black women’s tendency to care for family and friends outside the home could be part of what’s holding them back.

The majority of black women (60 per cent) said they’ve lent money to friends and family, compared to 52 per cent of white women. Black women were also 10 per cent more likely to care for elderly family members than whites.

And the divisions extend beyond the home, with 7 per cent more black women reporting issues paying off medical bills than white women. About one-quarter of black women said they had issues getting loans, compared to 16 per cent of white women. 

Black men also struggle more than white men when it comes to finances, the study shows. 40 per cent of black men said they’ve helped friends or family with child care compared to just 17 per cent of white men. (Read similar discrepancies in the auto insurance industry.)

And three times as many black men reported issues paying off mortgage loans than whites. The number of black men who said they had difficulty securing a loan was double that of white men. 

Apart from finances, the majority of black women (74 per cent) said they thought it’d be very difficult to get the right education needed to score a well-paying job. Just over half of white women shared the sentiment.


Photo: Washington Post

But overall, black women were slightly more optimistic than about their finances than white men and women. The number of white men and women who said they were “very satisfied” has declined since 2006, while 5 per cent more black women agreed this year.

See the full study results here.

Now see 9 stories from homeowners who clawed their way back after foreclosure >

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