Economic Vulnerability Among US Female Health Care Workers: Potential Impact of a $15-per-Hour Minimum Wage.

Abstract:

OBJECTIVES:To investigate racial/ethnic and gender inequities in the compensation and benefits of US health care workers and assess the potential impact of a $15-per-hour minimum wage on their economic well-being. METHODS:Using the 2017 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey, we compared earnings, insurance coverage, public benefits usage, and occupational distribution of male and female health care workers of different races/ethnicities. We modeled the impact of raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour with different scenarios for labor demand. RESULTS:Of female health care workers, 34.9% of earned less than $15 per hour. Nearly half of Black and Latina female health care workers earned less than $15 per hour, and more than 10% lacked health insurance. A total of 1.7 million female health care workers and their children lived in poverty. Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would reduce poverty rates among female health care workers by 27.1% to 50.3%. CONCLUSIONS:Many US female health care workers, particularly women of color, suffer economic privation and lack health insurance. Achieving economic, gender, and racial/ethnic justice will require significant changes to the compensation structure of health care.

journal_name

Am J Public Health

authors

Himmelstein KEW,Venkataramani AS

doi

10.2105/AJPH.2018.304801

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2019-02-01 00:00:00

pages

198-205

issue

2

eissn

0090-0036

issn

1541-0048

journal_volume

109

pub_type

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