Occupational Segregation

Last Updated 06/17/2024

Refers to the systemic overrepresentation or underrepresentation of particular demographic groups in an occupation or field of employment. Demographic groups include racial/ethnic groups, immigrants, individuals with prison records, and individuals with disabilities.

Racial occupational segregation is the degree to which members of different racial groups are distributed unequally across different types of jobs.  In the U.S., research shows that Black and Latinx workers are overrepresented in underpaying jobs, dangerous jobs, and jobs with fewer benefits.

Historically, occupational segregation is the result of policy and practice—by governments (federal and state), employer hiring, accessibility to education, and societal discrimination.

Related terms: Hiring bias, race-based earning disparities

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