Employment Quality and Racial-Ethnic Poverty Gaps in Later Life

Older Americans represent an increasing share of the nation’s poor and racial-ethnic inequality in later life poverty is persistent. While lack of employment is often cited as a structural source of racial-ethnic poverty inequalities, surprisingly little is known about the role of employment quality in maintaining racial-ethnic poverty gaps. Drawing on theories of structural racism and life course cumulative disadvantage, Lora Phillips and I use Health and Retirement Study data to decompose the proportion of the Black-White and Hispanic-White poverty gaps among older adults that can be attributed to inequalities in employment quality across multiple dimensions.