Race and the Workforce: Occupational Status, Aspirations, and Stereotyping Among African American Children

Rebecca S. Bigler, Cara J. Averhart, Lynn S. Liben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Scopus citations


This study examined whether African American children's perceptions of occupational status and their own vocational interests are affected by racial segregation of the workforce. Children (N = 92) rated familiar occupations with respect to status, desirability, and stereotyping. Children also rated novel jobs that had been depicted with African Americans, European Americans, or both African and European Americans. As predicted, for familiar jobs, children's judgments were linked to their knowledge of racial segregation of these jobs. In addition, novel occupations that had been depicted with African Americans were judged as lower in status than the identical occupations that had been depicted with European Americans, demonstrating a causal influence of workers' race on children's judgments. Children's age and socioeconomic background moderated their occupational judgments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)572-580
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2003


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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