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Analysis of New 2010 Census Poverty Data – September 2011

NWLC Analysis of New Census Data Shows Record Numbers of Women in Poverty, Without Health Insurance

Updated September 22, 2011

Update: see also our state-by-state breakdown of poverty data.

Tell Congress: Act Now on a Jobs Proposal that Supports Women and FamiliesRecord numbers of women were living in poverty — and extreme poverty — according to an analysis of 2010 Census data by the National Women's Law Center (NWLC). The poverty rate among women climbed to 14.5 percent in 2010 from 13.9 percent in 2009, the highest in 17 years. The extreme poverty rate among women climbed to 6.3 percent in 2010 from 5.9 percent in 2009, the highest rate ever recorded. Over 17 million women lived in poverty in 2010, including more than 7.5 million in extreme poverty, with an income below half of the federal poverty line.

In addition, the percentage of women under 65 without health insurance increased from 19.2 percent in 2009 to 19.7 percent in 2010, the highest rate recorded in more than a decade. The number of women younger than 65 without health care coverage increased to 19 million.

In addition to the details below, see also our in-depth report on the poverty numbers [PDF].

Data in Detail

Poverty among Women and Families

  • The poverty rate among women climbed to 14.5 percent in 2010 from 13.9 percent in 2009, the highest rate in 17 years. Men’s poverty rate was lower, rising to 11.2 percent in 2010 from 10.5 percent in 2009.
  • Extreme poverty among women climbed to 6.3 percent in 2010 from 5.9 percent in 2009, the highest rate since this was first measured 22 years ago.
  • 17.2 million women were living in poverty in 2010, 0.8 million more than in 2009. 7.5 million women were living in extreme poverty, 0.5 million more than in 2009.
  • The poverty rate for Hispanic and black women rose even more than the poverty rate for women generally – for Hispanic women to 25.0 percent in 2010 from 23.8 percent in 2009 and for black women to 25.6 percent in 2010 from 24.6 percent in 2009. 
  • Among women who head families, 4 in 10 (40.7 percent) lived in poverty (up from 38.5 percent in 2009).
  • The child poverty rate — already high at 20.7 percent in 2009 — jumped to 22.0 percent last year. More than half of poor children lived in female-headed families in 2010.

Health Insurance

The number of women under age 65 without health insurance continued its steady increase. NWLC’s analysis shows that for women ages 18 to 64:

  • The rate of women without health insurance rose to 19.7 percent in 2010 from 19.2 percent in 2009–the highest rate in more than a decade.
  • A total of 19 million women were uninsured in 2010 – an increase of more than 0.5 million women from the previous year.
  • Nearly one in five women did not have health insurance in 2010.
  • The percentage of women with employer-sponsored health insurance declined to 60.6 percent in 2010 from 61.7 percent in 2009 – a decrease of over 0.6 million women.
  • The percentage of women covered by Medicaid declined slightly to 11.5 percent in 2010 from 11.7 percent in 2009.

Wage Gap

  • The typical woman who worked full-time, year-round in 2010 still made only 77 cents for each dollar earned by her male counterpart – a figure that has barely moved in more than a decade.
  • The typical white, non-Hispanic woman who worked full-time, year-round in 2010 made only 77.6 cents compared to her male counterpart.
  • The wage gap was worse for minority women:
    • The typical black woman who worked full-time, year-round in 2010 earned less than two-thirds of what her white, non-Hispanic male counterpart did – she made only 62.3 cents for every dollar he made.
    • The typical Hispanic woman who worked full-time, year-round in 2010 earned just over half of what her white, non-Hispanic male counterpart did – she made only 54 cents for every dollar he made.

    The Wage Gap - A Graphic Representation
    Click here to view the full-size graphic.

More Resources

Detailed Analysis of the Poverty Data

Press Statements

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