Child poverty rate: 24.3%
Number of Black children below 200% poverty: 221,000
Percent of single-parent families with related children that are below poverty: 41%
Senior poverty rate: 9.9%
Women in poverty: 18.5%
Extreme poverty rate: 13.0%
Food insecurity: 16.5%
Minimum Wage: No state minimum wage law (federal wage applies)
Number of Black and Hispanic children living in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment: 171,000
Percent of individuals who are uninsured: 9.4%
Percent of jobs that are low-wage: 35.7%
Percent of working families under 200% of the poverty line: 35.6%
Poverty rate: 16.9%
Birmingham is the most populous city in Alabama and is located within Jefferson County. The city's population of over 200,000 is predominately African American, Jefferson County’s poverty rate is 15.3 percent. The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area population is of over one million which is approximately one-quarter of Alabama's population.Under the leadership of Mayor Randall Woodfin Birminghams current resurgence of growth and progressive development is a consolation to citizens.
The high rates of homelessness among Black women are especially disheartening since unemployment rates among formerly incarcerated Black women were higher than other demographic groups, including Black men.
Significant differences have always existed in the family and labor force as it pertains to the experiences of white women when compared with women of color, particularly black women. Black women , have historically been more likely to work outside the home than white women. This difference in labor force participation is deeply rooted in U.S. history around race, gender, and work. Black women were typically expected to work in undervalued jobs with low wages.
Women of color are also much more likely than white women to be raising children while unmarried, even though white women make up the majority of unmarried mothers. In 2016, for example, 40 percent of all births in the United States were to unmarried mothers. This included 17% of births to Asian or Pacific Islander women, 29% to non-Hispanic white women, 53% to Hispanic women, 66% percent to American Indian or Alaskan native women, and 70% of births to non-Hispanic Black women.
However race and marital status can not be viewed as variables that are controlled for analysis, nor do they provide simple explanations for differences across groups. Black women have a complex history in relation to work and the institution of marriage, in part because of how racism, stereotypes, and structural biases have shaped policy decisions, opportunities, and the lives of Black people in the past and present day. This context shapes the experiences of Black women in the United States and should be taken into account when analyzing any data relating to their lives.
When looking at historic shifts in mothers’ earnings and labor force participation rates, it is important to keep in mind that while the overall trends point toward change, certain groups of women—especially women of color and working-class women—have always been more likely to contribute significantly to their families’ incomes while simultaneously providing the majority of family care.
Sole income earning mothers are likely to be in low-income families, to be young, and to have very young children. They are disproportionately more likely to be women marginalized by the interconnected issues of sexism and racism in their daily lives. Yet these women persist in supporting their families, generally without access to affordable child care, paid family and medical leave, pay equity, paid sick days, or any of the other host of supports that allow people to facilitate managing the demands of working while raising a family and also caring for others. If Black women have come this far, and have made such great economic strides without sensible policy supports, the progress they could potentially make if work-family policy in the United States aligned with the rest of the world would be limitless.
Updating US modern labor standards would provide all workers—mothers, fathers, family caregivers, and others—with the support they need to maintain their commitments at work and in their personal lives.
“It is encouraging to see that fewer Alabamians live in poverty year-over-year, but we still have 800,000 friends and neighbors who face significant barriers to prosperity,” Kristina Scott, executive director of Alabama Possible, stated in a news release “It is also deeply concerning to see that the median household income for people of color in Alabama is roughly $15,000 – $20,000 lower than the median household income for white citizens. We must advocate for equitable systems that will dismantle poverty and promote prosperity for all Alabamians.”
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