Labor force status of Puerto Rican women in the New York labor market, 1985

Maria do Carmo Fonseca do Vale, Fordham University


The aim to the study is to shed light on the low levels of labor force participation found among Puerto Rican women in the New York Metropolitan region. The basic hypothesis of the research is that there is an overlap of human capital, family-gender and other societal factors which act to lower labor force participation among Puerto Rican Women. The major thrust of the dissertation is to borrow from the classical models used to explain female labor force participation, namely the Human Capital, Role Conflict and Structural Approaches and to integrate them using the Patriarchal analytical framework. The study utilized a sample of women who ever worked from the New York Fertility, Employment and Migration (NYFEM) survey conducted in 1985 in the New York metropolitan area to test the hypothesis. The independent variables borrowed from the classical models included level of education, amount of specialized training, English language ability, child care use, number of children ever born, number of children under five and marital status. Other descriptive data sources were also used to obtain socio-historical accounts of the lives of Puerto Rican women on the Island and in the New York Region. A cross-sectional approach was used to investigate the effect of the independent variables on the working status of the Puerto Rican women at the time of the survey and logit analysis was used to test the hypothesis. The major findings indicate, that, of the family gender factors, being in a union is positively associated with being in the labor force, while the relationship is negative for total number of children and the presence of young children. Among the human capital variables tested it was found that knowledge of English and professional training were better predictors of labor force participation than educational attainment. Evidence from the logit analysis suggests there was, in fact, an overlap of family-gender, human capital, and societal factors influencing the level of labor force participation among Puerto Rican women.

Subject Area

Demographics|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology|Womens studies|Labor economics

Recommended Citation

do Vale, Maria do Carmo Fonseca, "Labor force status of Puerto Rican women in the New York labor market, 1985" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9025016.