Domestic workers clean houses, cook meals, care for children, and provide in-home aid to frail older adults. For many families, the service they provide is incalculable. All told, 2.2 million people across the U.S., mostly women, work in this field, yet that figure is likely an undercount because many are paid “under the table” and hesitant to officially report their employment. Since many are immigrants, they are unlikely to participate in surveys regarding their job status.
More than 90% of domestic workers are women, and about a third are foreign born, according to a recent report from the the Economic Policy Institute. In fact, domestic workers are “twice as likely” as other U.S. employees to come from another country, the EPI notes. Of the 2.2 million, the vast majority work as home health care aides. And more will be needed in the cities that will age the most by 2060.
Domestic workers also toil for much less pay than other U.S. workers. The median hourly pay for domestic workers is $13.79 compared to $21.76 for non-domestic laborers. In addition to low pay, the pandemic hit the domestic workforce hard, with many finding themselves out of work due to COVID-19 restrictions. And those who continued to work often did not possess the proper protective equipment. (In contrast, these are the 36 jobs with wages rising faster than inflation.)
To identify the states with the most domestic workers, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Domestic Workers Chartbook 2022 report, compiled and published by the Economic Policy Institute. We listed the 12 states. States are ranked by the share of workers in domestic occupations as a share of the total workforce in 2021. Totals may not add up due to rounding. Data on the share of the population under the age of 15 and the share of the population 65 and older came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.
Going by state, New Yorkers employ the most domestic workers as a percentage of all workers. Totaling 248,462, domestic workers make up 2.7% of the workforce in the Empire State. Two-thirds work as in-home care aids, most likely taking care of the state’s 3.5 million people in the state over age 65.
No. 2 New Mexico is home to far fewer domestic workers at 19,930, but they account for 2.2% of the state’s workforce. California comes in third, with 340,776 people employed in domestic work, or 1.9% of the workforce.
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