Record 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).
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.
Record 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.
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.
- 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.
Detailed Analysis of the Poverty Data
- Report: Poverty among Women and Families, 2000-2010 [PDF]
- Summary: National Snapshot: Poverty among Women and Families, 2010 [PDF]
- State Resources: State-By-State Poverty Data from the 2010 Census
- NWLC's press statement on the new Census data (Updated 3 pm 9/13)
- NBC Nightly News: Jobs held by women see slow recovery (includes an interview with Center Co-President Nancy Duff Campbell)
From Our Blog
- More Women are in Poverty Than Ever -- Tell Congress to Act on President's Jobs Plan
- New Poverty Data Demonstrate Necessity of Maintaining the Safety Net
- Rising Poverty in Pictures
- Census Reports Increased Poverty Among People with Disabilities
- CBO Agrees: The Super-Committee Can Reduce Poverty, Not Just the Deficit
- Health Insurance Numbers Remain Bleak, but the Affordable Care Act Provides Hope
- The Wage Gap: Women Still Make Less Than Men
- Poverty Still on the Rise for Women in 2010; Record Numbers Lived in Extreme Poverty
- Affordable Care Act in Action: Fewer Uninsured Young Adults in America (HHS)
- Census Bureau's Summary of Key Findings
- Washington Post: U.S. Poverty Rate Reaches 15.1 percent
- USA Today: Household Income Drops to Lowest Point Since '96
- Huffington Post: Number of Americans Living in Poverty Hits 52-Year High, 27.4 Percent of Blacks Under The Poverty Line
- Kansas City Star: U.S. poverty rate hits 15.1 percent, new Census data show
- Ms. Magazine: Census Shows Increasing Number of Poor, Uninsured Women
- New Haven Register: Census: U.S. poverty rate swells to nearly 1 in 6
- Delaware News Journal: Poverty continues to rip away at Delaware, rest of the Nation
- The Florida Independent: Women's Law Center: Record number of women in extreme poverty in 2010
- The Daily Beast: Women: The Invisible Poor