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Black women account for more than 21 million of the approximately 330 million people counted in the U.S. population. For the 2020 edition of Women to Watch, The Baltimore Sun is spotlighting the numbers behind their educational achievement, professional lives and political might.

Entrepreneurship

Black women, who account for about 13% of women in the U.S., own more than 20% of women-owned businesses.

The number of U.S. businesses owned by Black women more than doubled from 2015 to 2019.

Among women-owned businesses, only those owned by Hispanics or Latinas grew faster. The numbers for non-minorities have remained relatively flat. Still, the 6.5 million businesses owned by non-Hispanic white women accounted for half of all women-owned businesses in 2019.

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But Black women owners average less than half as much yearly revenue as their peers.

On the front lines

Black women, who make up about 7% of the U.S. population, are over-represented in many front-line occupations.

And they’re paid up to 37% less than their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts.

In Washington and Annapolis

The past two midterms have given Black women in Congress their biggest gains this generation

Picking up four seats the past two midterms, and an additional one in between, Black women now hold 25 seats in Congress representing 16 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The only Black woman ever to represent Maryland in Congress, Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards, represented the 4th Congressional District from 2008 to 2017.

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Maryland’s General Assembly is looking more like Maryland

Black women make up about 16% of Maryland’s population and 15% of the combined 188 seats in the state’s two houses.

Educational attainment

Black women attend college at a rate similar to all Marylanders but trail the general population in the proportion who go on to receive a degree.

Earnings gap

Black women’s earnings lag behind others' in most of Central Maryland.

Among Central Maryland counties where at least 5% of the population is Black and female, only in Prince George’s County do Black women earn more than the general population. In neighboring Montgomery and Howard counties, Black women earn more than a quarter less.

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