New Survey Data: Black Women in America Continue to Disproportionately Face Economic Hardship

  • Data Shows Fewer Black Women Have Full-Time Salaried Jobs, Exacerbating Healthcare, Retirement, and Childcare Inequalities
  • 47% of Black women with student loan debt have household incomes of less than $50,000 annually, while 64% of Black women with student loan debt owe more than $25,000
  • Despite Financial Challenges, Black Women Remain More Optimistic About Their Futures Than the Average American; 89% Say They Will Vote in the 2024 Election

NEW YORK, NY, October 25, 2023 - Goldman Sachs’ One Million Black Women released its first-ever Money Matters: One Million Black Women Economic Mobility Survey today, a comprehensive national survey of 2,500 U.S. adults shedding light on the current economic state of Black women in America. The data reveals that 40% of Black women in the United States have annual household incomes under $50,000, compared to 24% of U.S. adults who earn the same figure.

The survey's findings illustrate that fewer Black women have full-time salaried jobs and are seeking gig work at higher rates than the broader population. Additionally, according to the survey, Black women have less career advancement opportunities, fewer have health insurance coverage through an employer, retirement savings plans and paid sick leave. They also disproportionately face barriers such as access to quality, affordable childcare when compared to the general US population. Some of the key findings include:

  • Career Advancement: 42% of Black women working full-time or part-time feel they lack opportunities for career advancement or promotion, compared to 35% of U.S. adults.
  • Health Insurance: Of those with health insurance, only 43% of Black women receive it through their employer, in contrast to 53% nationwide.
  • Retirement Savings: Only 49% of Black women have a 401(k) or other retirement savings, compared to 62% of the overall U.S. adult population.
  • Paid Sick Leave: Just 50% of Black women receive paid sick leave from their employers, while 56% of the rest of the population enjoys this benefit.
  • Childcare as a Barrier: 19% of Black women seeking employment report that childcare is a barrier affecting their job search, compared to 11% of U.S. adults.

Black women also report a cycle of living paycheck to paycheck, as they contend with mounting debt, including student loans and medical bills. The survey reveals that 71% of Black women feel like they live paycheck to paycheck, compared to 63% of the general population. Notably, 37% of Black women have medical debt (versus 29% of U.S. adults). Moreover, Black women are weighed down by burdensome student loan payments, with an unsustainable debt load relative to their income. 47% of Black women with student loan debt have household incomes of less than $50,000 annually, while 64% of Black women with student loan debt owe more than $25,000 (compared to 55% of U.S. adults).

Despite these economic challenges, Black women have a positive outlook on what the future holds. In fact, 63% of Black women report that they are optimistic about their futures. They are also determined to use their voice to shape the future, as 86% of Black women state they will definitely or probably vote in the 2024 presidential election. Furthermore, addressing these economic disparities would have a profound impact. According to Goldman Sachs research, reducing the earnings gap for Black women could raise the U.S.’ annual GDP by as much as 2.1% each year and has the potential to generate 1.2-1.7 million US jobs.

“These results make it evident that Black women in the United States are grappling with significant economic challenges and underscore the pressing need for policymakers to address these systemic issues,” said Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, National Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable and member of the One Million Black Women Advisory Council. “However, we are determined through our efforts with One Million Black Women to successfully advocate for policy solutions in Washington that will empower Black women economically and lead to a more equitable future."

“I have started my own business, and I am disciplined with my personal finances, yet even I am struggling with the affordability of basic needs like healthcare, child care, and emergency and retirement savings,” said Erica Bigger, OMBW: Black in Business Cohort 2 graduate and CEO of WhollyGloss. “I have strong faith in what lies ahead and will continuously invest in my abilities, but the current situation is not sustainable. My intention is to collaborate with policymakers in Washington to champion initiatives that enhance economic opportunities for Black women in the United States."

This survey is the first in a series of assessments that will monitor the economic trends of Black women in America. The data gathered highlights the critical need for partnership across the public and private sectors and will be used to develop and advocate for policy solutions to narrow these gaps. For more information about the survey and its findings, please visit

This data is based on a survey of 2,500 US adults, including 600 Black women, conducted by David Binder Research from August 23 – September 10, 2023.

About the One Million Black Women Initiative
In partnership with Black-women-led organizations, financial institutions and other partners, Goldman Sachs has committed $10 billion in direct investment capital and $100 million in philanthropic capital over the next decade to address the dual disproportionate gender and racial biases that Black women have faced for generations, which have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. The initiative, One Million Black Women, is named for and guided by the goal of impacting the lives of at least one million Black women by 2030.

About Goldman Sachs
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global financial institution that delivers a broad range of financial services across investment banking, securities, investment management and consumer banking to a large and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world.