Nearly 40 percent of adult blacks in the District of Columbia do not have jobs and 73 percent of unemployed black women live in households with incomes below $10,000 a year, according to a D.C. government survey.
According to a survey taken in the summer of 1983, 38 percent of black men aged 16 to 64 were either unemployed or were not in the labor force and 38 percent of black women of the same age group were not working. The survey was conducted by the Washington Urban League for the Department of Employment Services in the District to develop a profile of blacks between ages 16 and 64 who were without work.
"The most significant result of this dismal experience of black males in labor markets is the effect it has had on the black family," the study said. "Many black men are not able to function adequately as fathers and husbands and help provide a financial base for their family."
"The incidence of black children in families under the official poverty level is growing," the study continued. "The social fabric of a community or city becomes strained when disparities in living standards become pronounced. The nonutilization of potentially productive resources of a nation, city or community affects all citizens as revenue is lost or diverted as a result of this exclusion."
According to the study, 34 percent of unemployed black men have been without work for between one and two years. More than 40 percent of black men who are considered to be discouraged workers have either some college or a college degree. The study defined "discouraged" as persons who have some barriers to looking for work as well as those who have other reasons for not looking for a job.
More than one-third of black male discouraged workers said that health problems were their reason for not looking for work.
Black women had a harder time than black men in finding suitable employment in Washington, the study said. "The fact that black women are the most discriminated against in labor markets has had a devastating effect on the welfare of the black family," the study said. "The feminization of poverty is a reality in the black community, since black women, when working, have the lowest income."
The study said that 58 percent of black unemployed women were under age 30 and that 97 percent of discouraged black women are heads of households. Sixty-one percent of unemployed black women and 54 percent of discouraged black women have dependent children under 18 years of age, the study said.
Seventy-three percent of unemployed black women and 54 percent of discouraged black women live in households with incomes of less than $10,000 a year, the study said.