Technology and Automation are Changing the Labor Market for Women

Technology and Automation are Changing the Labor Market for Women

By Nicolas Martinez

In the coming years, developments in artificial intelligence, computerization, and automation are likely to impact most jobs. This summer, IWPR held a panel discussion with Professor Jerry Jacobs, Sarita Gupta, and Morgan Higgins to discuss how AI and computerization may change jobs in elder care and how public policy can improve the quality of care jobs. This discussion was part of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s Women & the Future of Work lecture series, supported by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

Sarita Gupta, Jobs with Justice, speaking at Future of Work lecture series.

The U.S. market for care workers is adapting slowly to the increasing need for elder care and the unmet need for child care, according to a report released by IWPR in June titled, The Shifting Supply and Demand of Care Work: The Growing Role of People of Color and Immigrants. The number of care workers grew 19 percent from 2005 to 2015, but low wages and poor working conditions in the care workforce threaten the quality and availability of care.

Care workers are predominantly female and the industry has become more diverse over the past decade, with especially large increases in the share of male workers, Hispanic and multiracial workers, and naturalized citizens and foreign-born noncitizens. Care workers have growing levels of education attainment, but the percent of care workers who were poor or near poor remained relatively unchanged between 2005 and 2015, especially among women. Overall, care workers have experienced stagnant, or in many cases declining, wages over the past decade. IWPR contextualized the research into the broader policy landscape in a one-pager, “Care workers in the United States: Where are we and where are we going?” The analysis was featured in Home Health Care News, “Care Workforce is More Educated, But Wages Remain Stagnant.”

Automation may cause jobs to disappear, but new technologies could give rise to an entirely different outcome. Computerization of some aspects of the job could lead to greater transparency and safety for care workers. As the labor market continues to evolve, IWPR will continue to provide high quality data analysis and provide policy recommendations.

[Event Recap] Pathways to Gender Equality: Economic Gender Analysis Addressing Current and Future Challenges at American University, November 2-3 2018

[Event Recap] Pathways to Gender Equality: Economic Gender Analysis Addressing Current and Future Challenges at American University, November 2-3 2018

On November 2-3, 2018, IWPR and AU’s Program on Gender Analysis in Economics hosted a conference in Washington, DC, bringing together scholars, advocates, and media to discuss economic issues through the lens of race and gender. Attendees heard from many experts on the latest research that sheds light on the path to gender equality.

  • Read about the issues explored at the conference in a commentary for Ms. Magazine written by IWPR’s Kelly Jones and Elyse Shaw, “The Economic Pathways to Gender Equality.”

Watch the Opening Plenary: Diversifying the Discipline of Economics


The opening plenary featured a conversation among leading women in economics on how the field can diversify to bring in more perspectives from women and people of color. The panel was moderated by MacArthur Foundation’s Cecilia Conrad and included former chair of the Federal Reserve and current Distinguished Fellow in Residence at the Brookings Institution Janet Yellen, MacArthur Fellow Nancy Folbre, M.V. Lee Badgett of the University of Massachusetts, Maria S. Floro of American University, and Bina Agarwal of the University of Manchester.

  • Read coverage of Dr. Yellen’s remarks at the conference in The Wall Street Journal.
  • Read commentary for Ms. Magazine from IWPR’s Heidi Hartmann and American University’s Mieke Meurs, “Diversifying the Field of Economics is Critical to Achieving Gender Equality.”

Watch the Closing Plenary: Moving Forward—Immediate and Mid-Term Priorities


The closing plenary was moderated by IWPR’s Heidi Hartmann and included economists Kate Bahn of the Washington Center for Economic Growth, Caren Grown of the World Bank, Shahra Razavi of UN Women, and John Schmitt of the Economic Policy Institute discussing the short- and long-term policy priorities that can move the needle on gender equality in the United States and around the world.

Continue the conversation on social media with #Pathways2GenderEquality.

IWPR Research News Roundup – October 2018


Reproductive Coercion ‘Much More Prevalent’ Than Once Thought

By: Auditi Guha |  | 10.24.2018

Eighty-four percent of these survivors of reproductive coercion became pregnant. This is one of the findings from a survey of 164 survivors in domestic violence programs and shelters conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). The survey, which was administered to survivors in 11 states and D.C., explores how abuse affects their abilities to secure and keep jobs, choose when to start families, and maintain good credit. The report, released Wednesday, shows how abuse keeps survivors from achieving economic security. “I fantasize about having a well-furnished, cozy home for my children and me …the ability to always provide. I want a cozy, happy life so bad it hurts,” said one of the women in the report.

Citing: Dreams Deferred: A Survey on the Impact of Intimate Partner Violence on Survivors’ Education, Careers, and Economic Security by Cynthia Hess, Ph.D., and Alona Del Rosario, M.A., Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Oct 2018

What #MeToo Has to Do With the Workplace Gender Gap

By: Vanessa Fuhrmans l  l 10.23.2018

The #MeToo movement has thrown a glaring spotlight on the gender gap in the workplace. For the past year, a collective national reckoning about the sexual pressure many women encounter on the job has pervaded offices, factory floors and break rooms. Women have come forward with painful secrets, and powerful men have been toppled. What has been less apparent, though, is how harassment and the gender gap are inextricably linked. In fact, management experts and executives say, harassment can be a direct side effect of a workplace that slights women on everything from pay to promotions, especially when the perception is that men run the show and women can’t speak up.

Citing: Women in the Workplace 2018 by Mckinsey&Company at Lean In, 2018

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Blue-collar Men are Riding America’s Economic Wave. Women? Not so much.

By: Danielle Paquette l  l 10.23.2018

Well-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree are multiplying at the fastest rate in three decades, offering more Americans a path to the middle class. But economists warn one group is missing out: women. A new report from Georgetown University found there are now about 13 million jobs nationwide that require only a high school diploma and pay at least $35,000 annually, a higher wage than most entry-level service roles. Three-quarters of them, however, belong to men.

“If you don’t have that degree, you better be a guy,” said Nicole Smith, chief economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Citing: Three Educational Pathways to Good Jobs by Anthony Carnevale, Jeff Stohl, Neil Ridley, and Artem Gulishat Georgetown University, 2018

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1495 Americans Describe the Financial Reality of Being Really Sick

By:  Margot Sanger Katz l l 10.17.2018

The New York Times, the Commonwealth Fund and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health used the survey to examine the sliver of the American population who use the health care system the most. To be included in the results, a respondent had to have been hospitalized twice in the last two years, and to have seen at least three doctors. In some cases, when patients had died or were too ill to answer questions, relatives who had taken care of them participated in their place. Their experiences may serve as an early warning system for problems that all of us may face: Because the estimated 40 million people in this population visit doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies the most, they are the likeliest to see the weak points in the health care system.

Citing: Health Care in America: The Experience of People with Serious Illness by Eric C. Schneider, Melinda Abrams, Arnav Shah, Corinne Lewis, and Tanya Shah at Common Wealth Fund and Harvard School of Public Health, October, 2018.

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How Raising the Minimum Wage Keeps Excons from Going Back to the Prison

By: Jacob Passy l  l 10.03.2018

Married men far outpaced single men and single and married women in their wages and salary through their careers, according to the report. Unmarried men and women have very little difference in income, according to the analysis of all people employed in 2016 with at least a high school diploma. But for women, getting married does little to improve wages, the St. Louis Fed study found. The data doesn’t necessarily mean that being married increases a man’s wages, according to the analysis by Guillaume Vandenbroucke, a research officer at the Fed. It may mean men earning higher wages are more likely to marry and lower-income men remain single, the Fed found.

Citing: The Minimum Wage, EITC and Criminal Recidivism by Amanda y. Agan and Michael D. Makowsky at the National Bureau of Economic Research, September 2018

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Strategies for Meeting the Demand for Advanced Manufacturing and Ship Building Workers: Women Only Pre-Apprenticeship Programs in Mississippi and West Virginia

By: Ariane Hegewisch, Institute for Women’s Policy Research for the  National Center for Women’s Equity in Apprenticeship and Employment at Chicago Women in the Trades l Oct, 2018

Apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing and the trades offer pathways to good jobs with family-sustaining wages and benefits and are a proven and cost-effective model for employers seeking to ensure that they can meet their future need for skilled workers. […]This brief describes how two women-only pre-apprenticeship programs, West Virginia Women Work’s Step Up for Women and Moore Community House’ Women in Construction program in Mississippi, are preparing women for career pathways that meet the needs of families as well as the demands of the manufacturing and shipbuilding industry. This report is based on site visits and interviews with program leaders, participants, employers, and other program partners.

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Women Only Pre-Apprenticeship Programs: Meeting Skills Needs and Creating Pathways to Good Jobs for Women

By: Ariane Hegewisch and Julie Andersen, Institute for Women’s Policy Research l  National Center for Women’s Equity in Apprenticeship and Employment at Chicago Women in the Trades l Oct, 2018

This briefing paper profiles three women-only pre-apprenticeship programs7 – Chicago Women in the Trades (CWIT), New York’s Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW), and Oregon Tradeswomen Inc. (OT) that are achieving impressive results in improving gender and racial diversity in apprenticeship programs.8 Where these programs operate, women’s share of registered apprenticeships is at least twice as high as the national average, and in the double digits in several key apprenticeship programs, showing that women-only pre-apprenticeship programs are an important component in creating greater diversity in the trades.

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The Effects of Universal Preschool in Washington D.C

By: Rasheer Malik l Center for American Progress l Sept, 2018

This report focuses on maternal labor force participation—in this case, mothers with a child younger than 5 years old—because most frequently, the parent who is on the margin of participating in the labor force is female. For the purposes of this report, the term “young children” refers to those under 5 years old, and the term “maternal labor force participation rate” refers to the share of women whose children are under age 5 and who are either working or actively seeking employment.

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Rethinking Gender Pay Inequality in a More Transparent World

By: Mita Goldar, Chrisopher Ryan, and Ahu Yildrimaz l ADP Research Institute l Sept, 2018

As employment practices in the United States have evolved, so has federal and state legislation. Starting with the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. Congress has passed at least nine major bills addressing discrimination to help ensure the legal protections for pay equity are enforced across various protected categories, such as race, religion, ethnicity, disability, age, and national origin. More recently, Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which amends the 180-day statute for filing an equal-pay lawsuit to reset with each new paycheck impacted by the original act of discrimination. States have added their own guidelines. The California Fair Pay Act, for example, looks past job classification to examine the situation of employees who perform “substantially similar work,” and forbids retaliation against workers who share their personal compensation information with co-workers. Multiple states explicitly focus on total compensation rather than only base pay. Some states and local jurisdictions, such as Massachusetts and New York City, are advancing ordinances that forbid an employer to request the salary history of a prospective employee for purposes of negotiating salaries

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Relationship of Gender Differences in Preferences to Economic Development and Gender Equality

By: Armin Falk and Johannes Herme l Science l Oct, 2018

Preferences concerning time, risk, and social interactions systematically shape human behavior and contribute to differential economic and social outcomes between women and men. We present a global investigation of gender differences in six fundamental preferences. Our data consist of measures of willingness to take risks, patience, altruism, positive and negative reciprocity, and trust for 80,000 individuals in 76 representative country samples. Gender differences in preferences were positively related to economic development and gender equality. This finding suggests that greater availability of and gender-equal access to material and social resources favor the manifestation of gender-differentiated preferences across countries

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A Critical Juncture for Health: Heidi Hartmann and Will Dow Discuss New P4A Research Hub on Work-Family-Supports

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Heidi Hartmann and Will Dow are the codirectors of P4A’s new Research Hub at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) and the University of California, Berkeley. The hub will focus on income enhancement and workplace policies that help working parents, especially those struggling to make ends meet, to have the time and financial resources to protect and invest in their family’s health. We sat down with them to learn more about their research portfolio and why it matters for policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.

Will and Heidi, can you tell us about how you are collaborating to study the connections between income and workplace policies and the health and well-being of families with children?

HEIDI: This is an area we’ve been working in for 30 years, and we’re very excited to look more closely at the health effects. Both IWPR and the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) at UC Berkeley attack a broad range of policies in our research, and we’re interested in every aspect of social policy. Because of the aging population, because of the diversity of our population, we want to learn what works and with whom. We all want to improve health care and reduce costs. That would allow our nation to spend money on other things we also want: housing, education, income assistance, green parks, art, culture.

As a country, we’re facing a critical juncture in these types of policies. And the health piece is very exciting – it’s a huge motivator and mobilizer for families and workers. It’s the dominant issue in this election cycle. Voters care about it. Therefore, policymakers care about it.

WILL: At Berkeley, we have a multidisciplinary set of faculty at the frontiers of economics, sociology, public policy, and public health and they are at the frontier of exploring the nexus between health and employment. As someone in public health, we care about where people live, play and work. We spend so much of our day at work – it’s crucial to focus on the employment piece of the puzzle.

Having IWPR as the partner in this really extends what we could possibly think about doing. They have such a good track record of working with the policy community and working on external communications—turning the basic research into action-oriented research briefs and events. It extends what we can do, and brings it to the policy sphere so much more quickly and robustly.

Your hub will also work closely with Ascend at The Aspen Institute. Can you tell us more about this partnership and why it’s important?

HEIDIAscend at the Aspen Institute represents a very important partner for practice and policy activities. They’re also very experienced in the business of translating research into accessible language for use by policymakers and the advocacy community. Ascend will help us frame all the policy issues we’re working on, and help narrow down the rapid response projects we’ll be doing.

What kinds of policies will you be examining? What are some big questions you’re hoping to help answer?

HEIDI: The issue of care—not having enough caregivers, not doing enough to make sure our entire population is being cared for (especially those who cannot care for themselves)—becomes increasingly urgent every day. We’re also the only country in the world without paid family leave, and we’re the only advanced country in the world without a system of paid sick leave. You can get the flu, you can have cancer, you can trip on the sidewalk—whatever happens to you, you could lose your income. We’re handicapped because we don’t have policies like paid family leave and help with families’ childcare costs.

This type of project is urgently needed now, partly because we have cut back on social supports for workers, families and individuals, and also because we’re just not keeping up with other countries around the world. This project allows us to get into depth on these issues, and produce actionable, reliable information that we hope all policymakers are looking for and will listen to.

One of our contributions to the whole work-family policy area is the development of a very sophisticated simulation model that can estimate the costs of designing a paid family leave program.  If your state, or city, or county (or nation) doesn’t have a paid family leave program, or has one that can be improved upon, by using the equations in the model, we can tell you a lot about any proposal you have – how much it would cost to provide the benefits, who would get these benefits, and how those benefits would be distributed.

WILL: In developing our projects, we were looking for salient gaps in what other people have been doing. Take the minimum wage. There’s been such a large literature on minimum wage, but not the effects on health — there’s starting to be work on this, but it is really still in its infancy. The effects of minimum wage on employment have been so controversial, and I think for the credibility of moving this into the policy sphere, we have to have work which is using the most reliable methods so we can get broad-based academic buy-in. That allows us to have a much more robust and I think, ultimately, longer-term policy impact on this field.

People say we don’t need to wait for the research literature to establish with great certainty what these results are. But if we don’t establish it in a strong way, it risks undermining the credibility of the policy efforts and slows down those efforts.

Is income always the mediating factor to better health and well-being? Or is it more complicated than that?

WILL: For low-income families, an increase in income of a few thousand dollars can actually be very significant in terms of the well-being of their kids. But having higher wages can also enable more flexibility on the part of the family – not to have to work two jobs, or to choose jobs that have a more family friendly component to them (rather than only seeking the highest-wage job). So, half of our hub projects are related to enhancing family incomes, and the other half are related to workplace regulation, including regulations around family friendly work schedules and paid family leave.

Many working caregivers simply can’t afford to take leave because they can’t pay their bills if their income goes down. What paid leave can do is replace the income they would have received while they were working and allow them to spend time with their kids at critical times in the life course. And that’s where we have a great deal of evidence – that spending time with kids in these early points in their childhoods can have permanent, lifetime benefits. What we’re trying to understand now is what are the types of leave policies that are actually influential in allowing more people to take that leave time and spend that time with their kids.

Most of these policies vary greatly from one state to another. Why study state-level policies, especially now?

WILL: Many stakeholders would like to see more robust federal policies in this arena. In the current policy environment, it doesn’t look like that’s likely in the short run. But what we can do right now is take advantage of the fact that we have such active experimentation at the sub-federal level. Much of this is going on at the state level, and at the level of localities, and the level of employers as well. We want to learn from all this and cross-fertilize ideas – not only from one state to another, but across states, municipalities, and employers –  helping each understand what might actually be a win-win for them to start doing proactively without waiting for federal legislation.

HEIDI: Using our simulation model we have estimated the costs and benefits of different policy options for paid leave programs at all governmental levels. We’ve also extended these findings to national programs that test many different policy parameters—how much does it cost to expand eligibility, for example.  Being a member of the P4A team and working with Will and others at Berkeley allows us to add the health impacts of these policy changes to our already comprehensive simulation model.

Your research hub will also produce some “rapid response” projects. Can you tell us more about these?

WILL: Our rapid response projects are designed to take strong research that’s already completed, and that with some additional modeling and analysis can fairly quickly lead to tailored new evidence and new knowledge that would be particularly beneficial for very specific policy conversations going on now or that we know are upcoming.

HEIDI: We built a large network of partners into our project to make sure that our work is accessible and focused on the issues that people care about. We also want to open it up to everyone working in the area—policymakers, voters, other researchers, public interest groups—to give us suggestions for issues and topics they’re interested in, and how and when they’d like to see those topics develop.

Thank you, Will and Heidi! We’re so excited to have you on board!

Have an idea for a rapid response project? Send us an email at

A Day with Renewed Importance for all Workers

A Day with Renewed Importance for all Workers

Dear IWPR Supporters and Colleagues,

Today, we celebrate the contributions, achievements, and resilience of working Americans.

Labor Day began as a way for workers to fight for the eight-hour day, the five-day work week, and the many other labor rights and protections we often take for granted. Today, we are fighting—and more and more refighting—battles for higher wages, quality health insurance, and a secure retirement.

The continued struggle to recognize the value, contributions, and dignity of every worker is why I’m proud to be a part of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and its work to assist workers and their representatives with policy analysis that advances all workers.

One of the fastest growing occupations is care work for children and elders, an industry where demand will continue to grow as the Baby Boomer generation ages.  It is also an industry dominated by women. Overall, however, care workers have experienced stagnant, or in many cases declining, wages over the past decade. A new report published by IWPR showed that the number of care workers grew 19 percent from 2005 to 2015. Care workers are predominantly female and although the occupations have become more diverse over the past decade, the percentage of care workers who are living at or near poverty levels remained relatively unchanged at 47%.

Unions are showing their highest support in 15 years, but a recent ruling from the Supreme Court (the Janus vs. AFSCME ruling) has the potential to derail much of the progress that unions have made in fighting for worker’s rights—although the first response from union members makes me think that they are sticking with their unions. IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., had this to say on the decision: “Unions play an essential role in boosting the quality of jobs around the country and the research shows that women and people of color especially benefit from the collective bargaining power unions provide. Labor unions have been at the forefront of the fight for fair pay and helped secure labor standards that are cornerstones of the American workplace, including the 40-hour work week, a national minimum wage, premium pay for overtime, health insurance, and family and medical leave.” The evidence is clear, the collective bargaining power of unions improves conditions for all workers, closes the gender wage gap, and promotes equal pay for women. Weakening unions threatens the improvements we have won.

It is with renewed importance that we take time to reflect on the contributions and struggles of workers then and now. With your support IWPR can continue to provide clear, fact-based research that enables activists, policymakers, the media, and you to fight for your rights at work.

I ask you for your support to advance this essential research by making a donation to IWPR today in honor of the countless women workers around the world.


Lorretta Johnson, Chair, IWPR Board of Directors
Secretary-Treasurer, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research conducts and communicates research to inspire public dialogue, shape policy, and improve the lives and opportunities of women of diverse backgrounds, circumstances, and experiences.

Promising Community College Practices for Student Parent Success

Promising Community College Practices for Student Parent Success

More than 2 million community college students in the United States are parents of children under 18. Student parents benefit from large earnings gains once earning their degree; community colleges can support their graduation by providing services to help balance family and school responsibilities.

By Rachel Karp and Lindsey Reichlin Cruse 

Originally posted on ACCT Now: Perspectives

More than 2 million community college students in the United States are parents of children under 18. Seventy percent of these parents are mothers, and many of these mothers are women of color.

The majority of student parents live in or near poverty, making them especially likely to benefit from the earning gains experienced by college graduates. These benefits are especially important for single mother students, who make up over half of all student mothers. New researchfrom the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) finds that, on average, single mothers with AA degrees who work full-time, year-round, earn $8,000 more each year, and over $330,000 more over their lifetimes, than they would have with only a high school diploma. These increased earnings lead to a substantial return to single mothers’ investment in community college: for every $1 a single mother graduate spends on earning an associate degree, her family gets back $16.45.

Despite the real benefits associated with college attainment, only 28 percent of first-time, beginning student parents in community college graduate with a degree or certificate within six years of enrollment.

Student parents face several challenges that make it hard for them to graduate. They face numerous demands on their time, which include caring for children and often, holding a job, in addition to attending classes and completing coursework. Two-thirds of student parents in community college work, which research has shown can disrupt degree completion. Caregiving takes up substantial time as well, with roughly a quarter of women in community college reporting that they spend 30 hours or more each week providing care to dependents, and more than four in ten who live with dependents saying that their care obligations are likely to cause them to drop out of school. Affordable, reliable child care is essential to helping student parents balance these time demands, but quality care can be expensive, and the number of community colleges with on-campus child care has declined as the number of student parents in community college has increased.

What can community colleges do to help their student parents persist and graduate?

1) Establish campus programs and collaborate with community service providers to give student parents access to resources they need to stay in school.

The Family Resource Center (FRC) at Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC) works with college and community groups to offer services such as after-school child care; infant and toddler play groups; diapers, baby wipes, and formula; academic counseling; and food and housing assistance. FRC also provides holistic family supports to students enrolled in the college’s workforce training academies through its Strengthening Working Families program.

2) Partner with the local early care and education community to help student parents find child care that meets their needs.

At Lane Community College in Oregon, student parents can find child care through a free referral service provided on-campus. Quality Care Connections helps parents identify child care options, in addition to providing a variety of free parenting supports and resources for free over thephone, through its statewide 211 Child Care Referral phone line,online, and in-person on campus.

3) Collect data on students’ parent status to better understand parents’ college needs and outcomes.

Monroe Community College (MCC) in New York collects data on parent status through a survey conducted every semester during course registration. MCC matches those data with data from its campus child care center, allowing for a recent IWPR analysis, which found that use of the center increased MCC student parents’ likelihood of returning to school the following year. The analysis also found that using the center more than tripled student parents’ chances of on-time graduation.

4) Promote federal, state, and local strategies to improve the availability of affordable child care.

Community college leaders can share information with policymakers on students’ need for child care and their experiences with programs like the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program, the only source of federal funding that supports low-income college students’ access to child care. They can also provide expert guidance to policymakers on how removing work requirements and other restrictions would expand students’ access to child care assistance, which can help low-income parents pay for child care while pursuing postsecondary education.

Comment on 2020 Census Federal Register Notice

On August 7, IWPR President and CEO Heidi Hartmann submitted a comment to the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the proposal to include an untested citizenship question on the 2020 Census:

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) writes to express its concern over proposed changes to the 2020 Census. IWPR conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women, promote public dialog, and strengthen families, communities, and societies.

IWPR relies on accurate and timely data from the federal statistical agencies, including the Census Bureau, for research across our program areas. A comprehensive, accurate decennial Census provides the primary source of information on the U.S. population and is the foundation on which many other data are based for gauging coverage, constructing population weights, and providing other inputs across the federal statistical system. As a result, we share a profound commitment with other census stakeholders to ensuring full public participation in the decennial Census. We not only rely directly on the decennial Census itself in our work, but we also rely on all the other federal and private data systems that use the decennial Census to ensure the accuracy of their data collection, sampling frames, population weights, and so on.

We are concerned that including an untested citizenship question on the 2020 Census will discourage participation in the decennial Census—especially among vulnerable, hard-to-count populations. Asking households to enumerate their members by an untested question designed to collect citizenship status is very likely to be perceived as a risk by many respondents, even those in the U.S. with proper visas/documentation, and will certainly increase the burden of response, suppress response rates, and reduce overall data quality. These negative outcomes are more likely to occur in urban areas that attract a greater number of single mothers (who give birth to majority of first-time births), immigrants, and racial minorities, and other vulnerable minorities, for example adherents of the muslin religions. The impact will be quite large when one considers that many families have members of different citizenship statuses.

Read the full comment on