Three quarters of black women are concerned about not making ends meet according to the massive Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey released last month. Even though black women have made strides in education, many feel unprepared and ill-equipped to compete in today’s job market.

Despite experiencing financial difficulties, black women continue to assist friends and family financially. The study found that “36 percent of black women said they regularly help friends or family with child care, compared with 24 percent of white women. And 49 percent said they regularly assist elderly relatives, while 39 percent of white women did.”

Black women’s propensity to help others matches what researchers have long known about black families: they support each other more than other groups, even if they have less money to go around.

The Washington Post reports:

“I think many African Americans feel a special obligation to those family members who have not done as well,” said Margaret Simms, a fellow at the Urban Institute and director of the group’s Low-Income Working Families project, who led the organization’s study, which did not take gender into consideration. “When you have higher incidences of unemployment and poverty in the African American community, you find that their better-off kin will be more likely to give.”

Experts who have studied these trends said that black families’ generosity may come with consequences. A 2005 study by economists N.S. Chiteji and Darrick Hamilton found that black families, more than their white counterparts, struggle to build wealth because of the financial circumstances of their relatives.

“It may be that basic character traits like compassion and generosity combined with the tendency to have less fortunate relatives may actually explain the adverse outcomes experienced by some middle-class families,” said Chiteji, a professor of economics at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Despite experiencing financial difficulties, black women are still optimistic about life. Unlike their white counterparts, a majority of the black women surveyed (51%) reported being “very satisfied” with their lives.

What do you think about the survey results? Do you find yourself helping out friends and family?

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  • Prosperity

    Yessss…..It’s about time black women are talked about in a positive light. ;)

    • CountryGirlSmile


    • Anon

      We’d be better off as a community if we DIDN’T hand out money to relatives. I don’t.

  • CaliDreaming86

    No, I do not help out friends and family. I don’t have anything extra to give in the first place.

    My grandmother is definitely the type of person to help out friends and family and then complains that she has no money.

  • This expose will neither magically overnight increase the amount of money we are paid or close the wealth gap that lies between us and our White male and female counterparts. To me this second installment of the Post-Kaiser Foundation study seems to point fingers at an issue that has persisted since the 17th century. It offers neither a solution or hope citing statistics that don’t need numbers to be known.

    Reading through the second installment of the “groundbreaking” study on Black women reminded of a scene from the movie Soul Food.

    Teri: I’m like an ATM. Automatically Teri’s money.
    Maxine: Dang, Teri. Why you gotta remind everybody that you paid for everything?
    Teri: Because I do!

    Once again the Washington Post is exposing what the Black community already knows. Our women are solid as a rock even when our finances are an eroding pile of pebbles.

    • Amen Sister! You said it a mouth full! I’m in 100% agreement with you.

  • Anon

    That survey wasn’t massive. They don’t even have basic INCOME or AGE information of the participants. The questions were not worded correctly. ALL of these things have been discussed with the reporter and the guy who designed the survey. They admit ON THE SITE that they don’t have that information. And yet this will be trotted out for years.

  • S.

    Still studying us I see O__O

    These studies are exactly like stereotypes

    And we all know that there’s no such thing as a “positive” stereotype