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Driven by Inequalities: Exploring the Resurgence of Domestic Work in U.S. Cities

Sociological Forum

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["\nDomestic work, once the most common occupation for women around the globe, was thought to be well on its way to extinction at the end of the twentieth century. However, in the 1980s and 1990s, evidence began to appear that domestic work was in many places again becoming a growth occupation. My goal in this article is to examine the factors related to the recent expansion of domestic work in countries in the Global North, using the United States as a case study. I draw on U.S. Census data to document the resurgence of domestic work both nationally and in many large cities across the country, and then use multivariate analysis to compare rates of domestic work across these cities. The results indicate that rates of domestic work are highly related to variables measuring structural inequalities (racialization of the labor force, immigration, and economic polarization), while showing little relationship with variables measuring unmet care needs (care dependency ratios, female/maternal labor force participation, and availability of institutional care options). These findings underline the urgency of providing protections to domestic workers and point to the need for scholarship that better theorizes the relationships among unpaid care and different forms of paid care.\n", "Sociological Forum, Volume 35, Issue 3, Page 608-627, September 2020. "]