How Education Shapes Women’s Work and Family Lives Across Race and Ethnicity

Léa Pessin, Sarah Damaske, Adrianne Frech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on life course and intersectional approaches, this study examines how education shapes the intertwined domains of work and family across race and ethnic ity. By applying multichannel sequence analysis and cluster analysis to the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, we identify a typology of life course trajectories of work and family and test for the interactive associations of race and ethnicity with college education for different trajectory types. While our results show statistically significant and often sizable education effects across racial and ethnic groups for most of the work‒family clusters, they also suggest that the size and direction of the education effect vary widely across groups. Educational attain­ment plays an out­size role in shaping Black women’s work‒family lives, increasing their access to steady work and partnerships, while educational attainment primarily works to increase White women’s participation in part-time work. In contrast, Latina women’s work‒family trajec­to­ries are less responsive to their educational attainment. In combination, the racialized role of education and persistent racial and ethnic gaps across the education distribution yield unequal patterns in work‒family strategies among Black, Latina, and White women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1207-1233
Number of pages27
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography

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