Parental Expectations, Family Structure and the Black Gender Gap in Educational and Occupational Attainment

An Intersectional Approach to the Social Psychological Model of Status Attainment

Authored by: Tomeka Davis , Taralyn Keese

The Ashgate Research Companion to Black Sociology

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472456762
eBook ISBN: 9781315612775
Adobe ISBN: 9781317044024


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For many years, White women trailed White men in educational attainment and college completion (DiPrete and Buchmann 2006; McDaniel et al. 2011). However, recent statistics indicate a reversal of this pattern as White men now trail White women in this regard (Buchmann and DiPrete 2006; McDaniel et al. 2011; U. S. Census Bureau 2012). While White women only began to reach parity with White men in the late 1980s, historically, Black women’s educational attainment has always more closely matched that of Black men and Black women have surpassed Black men for longer in this regard (Brunn and Kao 2008; Buchmann and DiPrete 2006; DiPrete and Buchmann 2006; McDaniel et al,. 2011). More recently, structural economic change has made lower-skilled jobs scarce in the communities where Blacks reside (Wilson 1996) and, because Black men are less likely to complete college and therefore are less able to effectively compete in the new economy, many speculate that college-educated, early career women, regardless of race, will surpass young men on a number of labor market indicators (Autor and Wasserman 2013; Cauchon 2010; Luscombe 2010; Morello and Keating 2010; Hill et al. 2009). Yet there is little systematic empirical evidence to date supporting this claim (Autor and Wasserman 2013; Hill et al. 2009). Concern over this Black gender imbalance has led some to label the declining fortunes of Black men as a “crisis” (Boo 2003; Johnson et al. 1998; 2000; Kunjufu 2005; Legette 1999; Noguera 1997).

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