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Racial and ethnic characteristics of the U.S. labor force in 2012

November 19, 2013

In 2012, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders had the highest labor force participation rates (71.4 percent) among the race and ethnicity groups, while American Indians and Alaska Natives and Blacks had the lowest participation rates (59.3 percent and 61.5 percent, respectively).

Labor force participation rates by sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, age 16 years and older, 2012 annual averages
Race or Hispanic ethnicity groupPercent

Total

63.7

Men

70.2

Women

57.7

White

64.0

Men

71.0

Women

57.4

Black or African American

61.5

Men

63.6

Women

59.8

Asian

63.9

Men

72.2

Women

56.5

American Indian and Alaska Native

59.3

Men

66.4

Women

52.6

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander

71.4

Men

73.9

Women

69.1

Two or More Races

65.3

Men

70.4

Women

60.5

Hispanic or Latino

66.4

Men

76.1

Women

56.6

 

Note: People whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.

The participation rates for Hispanics, Whites, and Asians, were 66.4 percent, 64.0 percent, and 63.9 percent, respectively. The participation rate for people of Two or More Races was 65.3 percent. Across the race and ethnicity groups, men typically have higher labor force participation rates than women.

Among people age 25 and older in the labor force, Asians were the most likely of the groups to have graduated from college; 58 percent of Asians in the labor force had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 36 percent of Whites, 26 percent of Blacks, and 17 percent of Hispanics. 

Educational attainment of the labor force age 25 and over by race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, 2012 annual averages
Race or Hispanic ethnicity groupPercent distribution
Less than a high school diplomaHigh school graduates, no collegeSome college or associate degreeBachelor's degree and higher

White

8.527.427.836.3

Black or African American

8.332.832.726.2

Asian

7.017.417.758.0

Hispanic or Latino

29.530.822.916.9
Note: People whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Data may not sum to 100 percent due to rounding.

In 2012, thirty percent of Hispanics age 25 and older in the labor force had less than a high school diploma, compared with 9 percent of Whites, 8 percent of Blacks, and 7 percent of Asians.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see "Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity, 2012" (PDF), Report 1044, October 2013. People whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Racial and ethnic characteristics of the U.S. labor force in 2012 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20131119.htm (visited April 21, 2014).

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