Domestic worker occupations Child care workers Home care aides All other workers Domestic workers Percentage-point difference House cleaners Nannies Provide care in own home Not agency-based Agency-based All 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% Gender Female 46.3% 91.5% 45.2 95.5% 96.8% 97.2% 86.1% 88.8% Male 53.7% 8.5% -45.2 4.5% 3.2% 2.8% 13.9% 11.2% Nativity U.S.-born 82.9% 64.9% -18.0 30.7% 71.6% 70.9% 76.7% 70.4% Foreign-born U.S. citizen 8.4% 14.8% 6.4 18.5% 11.4% 12.3% 10.6% 15.4% Foreign-born noncitizen 8.7% 20.3% 11.6 50.8% 16.9% 16.8% 12.6% 14.2% Race/ethnicity White, non-Hispanic 62.9% 41.7% -21.3 29.0% 64.6% 54.8% 51.3% 37.0% Black, non-Hispanic 11.9% 21.7% 9.7 6.5% 7.9% 13.3% 20.1% 30.3% Hispanic, any race 17.1% 29.1% 12.0 61.5% 23.8% 28.4% 19.5% 22.4% Asian 6.9% 6.3% -0.6 2.2% 3.3% 2.7% 7.2% 8.6% Other 1.1% 1.3% 0.2 0.8% 0.5% 0.8% 2.0% 1.6% Education Not high school graduate 8.0% 19.1% 11.1 38.9% 14.6% 17.0% 11.0% 15.9% High school graduate 25.8% 37.6% 11.8 36.9% 30.8% 34.1% 36.2% 40.0% Some college 28.0% 30.1% 2.1 15.4% 32.9% 34.5% 35.4% 32.1% Bachelor’s degree 24.3% 10.7% -13.6 7.7% 17.9% 12.1% 14.2% 9.6% Advanced degree 13.8% 2.4% -11.4 1.2% 3.8% 2.2% 3.2% 2.4% Age Under 23 8.3% 9.0% 0.7 2.8% 35.7% 5.9% 6.1% 6.8% 23–29 15.7% 12.9% -2.8 5.9% 25.4% 10.4% 9.7% 13.5% 30–39 22.0% 18.6% -3.4 20.1% 11.8% 17.8% 14.2% 20.0% 40–49 20.6% 19.5% -1.1 28.3% 9.0% 22.6% 16.9% 18.6% 50–54 10.2% 11.7% 1.4 13.9% 4.8% 12.7% 12.4% 12.0% 55–59 9.8% 11.5% 1.7 12.4% 6.1% 15.2% 14.0% 11.2% 60–64 7.2% 8.3% 1.1 8.6% 4.6% 7.7% 11.4% 8.7% 65+ 6.2% 8.5% 2.3 7.9% 2.7% 7.7% 15.2% 9.2% Median age 41 45 47 26 47 51 45

Notes:?To ensure sufficient sample sizes, this table draws from pooled 2017–2019 microdata. “Foreign-born” refers to anyone who is not a U.S. citizen at birth.

To ensure sufficient sample sizes, this table draws from pooled 2017–2019 microdata. “Foreign-born” refers to anyone who is not a U.S. citizen at birth. “Foreign-born noncitizen” includes foreign-born persons who are either lawful permanent residents, in a nonimmigrant status (migrants with temporary visas), or who lack an immigration status, including both unauthorized immigrants and those with lawful presence (such as DACA recipients and asylum applicants whose cases are in process).

Source: EPI analysis of Current Population Survey basic monthly microdata from the U.S. Census Bureau

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While women of all races and ethnicities are overrepresented in the domestic employee workforce, this overrepresentation, shown in Table 3, is particularly pronounced for Hispanic and black women. Figure B shows that house cleaners constitute the domestic worker occupation with the highest share of Hispanic workers (61.5%), while agency-based home care aides constitute the domestic worker occupation with the highest share of black, non-Hispanic workers (30.3%). Table 4 shows the number of domestic workers in each state and the District of Columbia.

Table 3

Race/ethnicity and nativity of domestic workers, by gender: Shares of domestic workers in different occupations with given characteristic, 2019

Domestic worker occupations
Child care workers Home care aides
All other (nondomestic) workers Domestic workers Percentage-point difference House cleaners Nannies Provide care in own home Not agency-based Agency-based
All 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Race/ethnicity and gender
White, non-Hispanic female 29.2% 37.9% 8.8 27.7% 63.1% 53.1% 42.1% 32.4%
Black, non-Hispanic female 6.2% 19.7% 13.5 6.1% 7.4% 13.1% 18.5% 27.2%
Hispanic, any race female 7.1% 27.2% 20.1 58.9% 22.6% 27.8% 17.7% 20.3%
Asian female 3.2% 5.5% 2.3 2.0% 3.1% 2.6% 6.3% 7.4%
Other female 0.5% 1.2% 0.6 0.8% 0.4% 0.7% 1.6% 1.4%
White, non-Hispanic male 33.8% 3.7% -30.0 1.3% 1.5% 1.8% 9.2% 4.6%
Black, non-Hispanic male 5.7% 2.0% -3.8 0.4% 0.5% 0.2% 1.6% 3.1%
Hispanic, any race male 10.0% 1.9% -8.1 2.7% 1.2% 0.6% 1.8% 2.1%
Asian male 3.7% 0.8% -2.9 0.2% 0.1% 0.2% 0.9% 1.2%
Other male 0.6% 0.1% -0.4 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.4% 0.2%
Nativity and gender
U.S.-born, female 39.3% 58.7% 19.3 28.7% 69.5% 68.6% 64.2% 62.1%
Foreign-born U.S. citizen, female 3.8% 13.6% 9.8 17.5% 11.1% 12.2% 10.2% 13.7%
Foreign-born noncitizen,? female 3.1% 19.2% 16.1 49.3% 16.2% 16.4% 11.7% 13.0%
U.S.-born, male 43.6% 6.2% -37.4 2.1% 2.1% 2.3% 12.6% 8.3%
Foreign-born U.S. citizen, male 4.6% 1.2% -3.4 1.0% 0.4% 0.1% 0.5% 1.7%
Foreign-born noncitizen, male 5.5% 1.1% -4.4 1.5% 0.7% 0.4% 0.9% 1.2%

Notes:?To ensure sufficient sample sizes, this table draws from pooled 2017–2019 microdata. “Foreign-born” refers to anyone who is not a U.S. citizen at birth.

To ensure sufficient sample sizes, this table draws from pooled 2017–2019 microdata. “Foreign-born” refers to anyone who is not a U.S. citizen at birth. “Foreign-born noncitizen” includes foreign-born persons who are either lawful permanent residents, in a nonimmigrant status (migrants with temporary visas), or lacking an immigration status, including both unauthorized immigrants and those with lawful presence (such as DACA recipients and asylum applicants whose cases are in process).

Source: EPI analysis of Current Population Survey basic monthly microdata from the U.S. Census Bureau

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Figure B

Black and Hispanic workers make up disproportionate shares of domestic workers: Shares of domestic workers in different occupations, by race/ethnicity, 2019

White, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic? Hispanic, any race Asian Other
Domestic workers 41.7% 21.7% 29.1% 6.3% 1.3%
All other workers 62.9% 11.9% 17.1% 6.9% 1.1%
House cleaners 29.0% 6.5% 61.5% 2.2% 0.8%
Nannies 64.6% 7.9% 23.8% 3.3% 0.5%
Provide child care in own home 54.8% 13.3% 28.4% 2.7% 0.8%
Non-agency-based home care aides 51.3% 20.1% 19.5% 7.2% 2.0%
Agency-based home care aides 37.0% 30.3% 22.4% 8.6% 1.6%
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Note:?To ensure sufficient sample sizes, this table draws from pooled 2017–2019 microdata.

Source:?EPI analysis of Current Population Survey basic monthly microdata from the U.S. Census Bureau

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Table 4

Employment in domestic worker occupations, by region and state, 2019

Domestic worker occupations
Child care workers Home care aides
All other (nondomestic) workers Domestic workers House cleaners Nannies Provide care in own home Not agency-based Agency-based
All 153,215,916 2,245,047 343,527 225,933 276,311 141,400 1,257,878
Northeast 27,895,992 499,394 62,182 44,364 49,392 23,869 337,799
Connecticut 1,854,406 30,016 4,618 3,700 3,546 2,826 15,009
Maine 695,023 10,931 883 869 1,760 807 6,663
Massachusetts 3,511,411 50,085 6,267 6,390 5,588 2,971 29,386
New Hampshire 753,295 8,011 841 1,181 964 516 4,536
New Jersey 4,471,507 56,112 10,550 6,631 5,496 2,663 30,892
New York 9,360,472 258,155 30,949 17,764 24,117 8,378 190,515
Pennsylvania 6,340,703 74,297 6,870 6,620 5,963 4,825 54,453
Rhode Island 554,549 5,601 585 687 771 233 3,345
Vermont 354,627 6,186 619 521 1,187 649 3,002
Midwest 34,356,668 455,447 37,896 49,225 86,753 20,755 249,924
Illinois 6,448,489 84,647 8,657 11,219 14,719 5,230 42,236
Indiana 3,227,001 30,366 3,387 2,741 5,438 1,079 17,183
Iowa 1,695,788 22,610 1,578 2,184 7,403 758 8,053
Kansas 1,490,107 22,938 1,910 3,042 5,152 705 10,843
Michigan 4,781,699 63,973 5,066 7,350 10,895 4,053 35,789
Minnesota 2,976,346 48,691 2,917 4,966 11,186 2,066 25,511
Missouri 3,023,480 43,548 3,152 4,073 6,578 1,530 28,977
Nebraska 1,020,590 12,842 1,113 1,606 4,071 461 3,976
North Dakota 394,134 5,526 286 471 1,911 198 1,998
Ohio 5,762,605 74,214 7,097 7,210 10,184 2,374 48,709
South Dakota 453,616 4,987 325 499 2,010 136 1,156
Wisconsin 3,082,812 41,105 2,409 3,867 7,207 2,165 25,492
South 55,520,511 703,756 140,427 73,179 72,100 49,608 365,058
Alabama 2,167,013 19,429 3,988 2,291 2,183 2,174 8,264
Arkansas 1,334,766 16,837 2,584 1,022 1,596 1,134 11,092
Delaware 451,111 4,330 438 424 813 268 2,266
District of Columbia 344,833 4,021 813 899 247 197 1,808
Florida 9,258,211 104,482 37,002 9,088 7,218 8,567 38,969
Georgia 4,745,118 41,810 8,899 6,848 5,058 3,264 15,768
Kentucky 2,009,155 18,064 3,227 1,832 2,971 1,848 7,302
Louisiana 2,057,857 31,380 4,921 2,566 2,817 2,780 19,113
Maryland 3,080,645 36,947 6,766 6,992 6,726 1,961 11,292
Mississippi 1,273,037 11,609 2,323 713 1,730 1,279 5,188
North Carolina 4,560,543 59,710 7,041 6,288 6,235 2,842 39,024
Oklahoma 1,789,220 20,858 3,012 1,665 2,833 1,216 12,176
South Carolina 2,154,162 19,569 3,136 2,098 2,308 1,517 10,434
Tennessee 3,048,589 31,370 5,370 2,664 3,767 3,493 15,825
Texas 12,297,893 213,896 42,267 16,876 15,865 10,914 134,434
Virginia 4,159,587 56,406 7,752 10,434 8,526 5,238 21,542
West Virginia 788,773 13,038 887 479 1,207 917 10,563
West 35,442,745 586,450 103,022 59,165 68,066 47,168 305,096
Alaska 346,681 5,713 230 481 1,013 252 3,802
Arizona 3,053,357 40,736 7,390 3,905 4,130 4,662 20,558
California 17,989,336 358,013 74,374 30,359 35,743 28,994 188,209
Colorado 2,767,754 35,900 6,025 6,698 5,395 1,539 14,306
Hawaii 662,053 5,084 842 221 724 547 2,714
Idaho 774,528 11,229 812 1,192 2,118 1,018 5,797
Montana 508,979 6,291 572 631 1,129 352 3,496
Nevada 1,335,289 9,518 2,212 1,148 1,067 850 3,915
New Mexico 915,274 20,904 1,992 650 1,587 1,509 16,872
Oregon 1,929,241 29,320 2,777 3,342 5,017 3,086 14,311
Utah 1,413,140 11,367 1,181 2,104 2,792 376 3,783
Washington 3,449,723 49,080 4,293 8,143 6,546 3,767 25,891
Wyoming 297,389 3,295 323 292 804 216 1,441

Note:?To ensure sufficient sample sizes, this table draws from pooled 2010–2019 microdata.

Source: EPI analysis of Current Population Survey basic monthly microdata from the U.S. Census Bureau

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Domestic workers are mostly U.S.-born but are much more likely to be foreign-born than workers in other occupations, as shown in Figure C. One-third (35.1%) of domestic workers are foreign born, compared with 17.1% of other workers. One in five (20.3%) domestic workers is a noncitizen, compared with 8.7% of workers in other occupations. House cleaners constitute the domestic worker occupation with the highest share of noncitizens. Those noncitizens that are undocumented are particularly vulnerable in the workplace and are not eligible for unemployment benefits—the primary means of replacing the income that workers have lost due to coronavirus—even under the recently enacted CARES Act.

Figure C

Domestic workers are more likely than other workers to have been born outside the U.S.: Shares of domestic workers in different occupations, by nativity, 2019

U.S.-born Foreign-born U.S. citizen Foreign-born noncitizen
Domestic workers 64.9% 14.8% 20.3%
All other workers 82.9% 8.4% 8.7%
House cleaners 30.7% 18.5% 50.8%
Nannies 71.6% 11.4% 16.9%
Provide child care in own home 70.9% 12.3% 16.8%
Non-agency-based home care aides 76.7% 10.6% 12.6%
Agency-based home care aides 70.4% 15.4% 14.2%
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The data below can be saved or copied directly into Excel.

Notes:?To ensure sufficient sample sizes, this table draws from pooled 2017–2019 microdata.?“Foreign-born” refers to anyone who is not a U.S. citizen at birth.

To ensure sufficient sample sizes, this table draws from pooled 2017–2019 microdata. “Foreign-born” refers to anyone who is not a U.S. citizen at birth. “Foreign-born noncitizen” includes foreign-born persons who are either lawful permanent residents, in a nonimmigrant status (migrants with temporary visas), or lacking an immigration status, including both unauthorized immigrants and those with lawful presence (such as DACA recipients and asylum applicants whose cases are in process).

Source:?EPI analysis of Current Population Survey basic monthly microdata from the U.S. Census Bureau

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Domestic workers, who have a median age of 45, are somewhat older than workers in other occupations, who have a median age of 41 (Table 2). Home care aides who are not agency-based are the oldest subgroup of domestic workers, with a median age of 51. Since older people have a greater risk of severe illness from coronavirus, these workers are putting their own lives on the line to care for others.

It is imperative that policymakers and employers increase the ability of domestic workers to practice social distancing without losing income and provide adequate protective equipment to domestic workers who are still cleaning, caring for children, and providing home care services in homes across the country. Policymakers should also address the glaring exceptions to existing labor protections that have long placed domestic workers at risk in the workplace.

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