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Census Bureau and Census Data

Five Things to Know About Women of Color and the Gender Wage Gap in the States

This week the Census released new state data that we used to look at the gender wage gap in earnings for African-American and Hispanic women working full time, year round as compared to white, non-Hispanic men in all 50 states and D.C.

Here are the top 5 things you need to know:

  1. Washington, D.C.’s gender wage gap is the smallest in the nation – but the wage gaps for Hispanic and African-American women in D.C. rank among the ten worst in the country.
  2. Based on these wage gaps, the difference in lifetime earnings between African-American women and white, non-Hispanic men over a 40-year career would be more than $1 million in five states and D.C. For Hispanic women, it would be more than $1 million in 21 states and D.C.

Poverty Among Seniors Is Far Worse than First Appears

A disturbing finding from today’s Census Bureau report on poverty using the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM):  the rates of poverty and extreme poverty among seniors are dramatically higher than under the official poverty measure. Specifically:

  • The poverty rate for people 65 and older under the SPM was over 60 percent higher under the SPM than under the official measure: 14.8 percent of seniors were considered poor under the SPM in 2012, compared to 9.1 percent under the official measure.
  • The extreme poverty rate (income less than 50 percent of the poverty threshold) for people 65 and older was nearly 75 percent higher under the SPM than under the official poverty measure (4.7 percent under the SPM v. 2.7 percent for the official measure).

In contrast, the rates of poverty and extreme poverty among children under 18 were lower under the SPM than under the official poverty measure:

  •  The poverty rate for children under 18 was 18 percent under the supplemental measure, compared to 22.3 percent under the official measure.
  • The extreme poverty rate for children dropped by more than half, to 4.7 percent under the SPM compared to 10.3 percent under the official measure.
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Extreme Poverty Increased for Older Americans

Many of the stories about the Census data released last week reported that poverty rates flatlined last year – and it’s true that there were few statistically significant changes. Indeed, the Census didn’t report statistically significant improvements in poverty rates for any demographic groups nationally. But there was one group that that saw statistically significant increases in extreme poverty: Americans 65 and older.

What’s extreme poverty? An income below 50 percent of the federal poverty threshold. That’s just $5,505 for a single person 65 and older. Read more »

Poverty at home: How’s Your State Doing?

Not in my backyard.

We all know it’s easier to brush off problems that happen to other people, in other places. You might be frustrated about the injustices happening out there, but at least you can go to bed imagining things are okay right here.

NWLC just crunched some more state-by-state poverty data that the U.S. Census Bureau released yesterday, and I can tell you this: Things are not okay right here, wherever you may be.  

The national poverty data released on Tuesday showed that national poverty rates didn’t improve in 2012 and women and children continued to be disproportionately affected by poverty.   Some of the facts in the state-by-state poverty data will also make you cringe: Read more »

Stop Tax Haven Abuse—Another Way to Fight Poverty and Inequality

It’s been a roller coaster week, and it’s not over yet. Disappointing news from the Census Bureau that we didn’t make progress reducing poverty or the wage gap last year. Exciting news from the Department of Labor about a new rule that brings home care workers one giant step closer to fair pay. The threat that the House will vote later today to slash vital SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits for millions of Americans and vote tomorrow to extend the sequester for several more months. The sequester vote will include yet another effort to defund the Affordable Care Act.

But even in Congress, there are some encouraging developments. Yesterday, several Members of Congress turned out for a special game of Chutes and Ladders (with hula hoops!) to show their support for investing in early learning. And today, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and cosponsors Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mark Begich (D-AK) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act to close offshore tax loopholes. Read more »

Where Does Your State Rank? The Best and Worst for Women’s Health Insurance Coverage

Today, the Census Bureau released new state by state data on women’s health insurance coverage. The data is clear: all states are not equal. In some states, like Massachusetts, nearly all women have health insurance. But, in other states, like Texas, almost one-third of women are uninsured. Without insurance, women have to worry about where to get the health care they need and also have to consider how a costly health care problem could harm their family’s economic stability.

Below, we’ve ranked the best and worst states for health insurance coverage of women aged 18-64, so you can see the range of health coverage across the states.

First, the five best states for women’s health insurance coverage:

  1. And, the winner is: Massachusetts! Over 96 percent of women have health insurance in the Bay State.

The True Cost of French Fries

I have a confession to make: I love McDonald’s French fries. When I was in college, during particularly stressful finals or mid-terms weeks, I would go to the campus McDonald’s and order myself a small fries. I’d time my visit around when I knew the fries were likely to be fresh and excitedly hop on my toes waiting for that crispy, salty goodness.

Nowadays, when I think back to my trips to those glowing golden arches, I can’t help but think about minimum wage and low-wage workers; and no matter how delicious those French fries tasted, I can’t help but leave with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth and feel as though those arches have lost their luster.

NWLC’s analyses show that two-thirds of minimum-wage and tipped-wage workers are women, 60% of women’s job gains in the recovery are in the ten largest low-wage jobs. NWLC analysis of the Census Bureau’s most recent numbers show that the overall poverty rate hasn’t budged much, with 18.4 percent of families with children in poverty, and 14.5 percent of women compared with 11.0 percent of men living in poverty.  More than one in seven women – 17.8 million – live in poverty.  Read more »

Poverty and the Wage Gap Both Hurt Women and Families

56 percent of poor children live in families headed by women.

Census Bureau data released yesterday show that women continue to experience high rates of poverty and a nasty wage gap.

In 2012, the poverty rate for women was 14.5 percent, substantially higher than men’s rate of 11 percent. Nearly 17.8 million women lived in poverty last year.

Poverty rates were particularly high for families headed by single mothers – more than four in ten (40.9 percent) were poor. More than half (56.1 percent) of poor children lived in female-headed families in 2012.

The poverty rates for other vulnerable groups of women were also high: black women (25.1 percent), Hispanic women (24.8 percent), and women 65 and older living alone (18.9 percent).

The wage gap figures also paint a bleak picture for many women.

The cold hard facts are that women working full time, year round continue to be paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, and the numbers are far worse for women of color, at 64 cents for black women and 54 cents for Hispanic women.

With women as primary breadwinners in over 40% of families today, women and their families simply cannot afford to make do with less.

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One Lesson From Yesterday’s Poverty Numbers: Don’t Play Politics with the Social Safety Net

In 2012, 46.5 million people, including nearly 17.8 million women and 16 million children, were living in poverty, according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau yesterday. Numbers that big are often difficult to comprehend, but the message is clear: we have a long way to go to end poverty in America.

Although these new data confirm that the poverty rate remains stubbornly high, it is also important to note that without key safety net programs, the statistics would be far worse. What we know for sure is that programs like Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps (SNAP), and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), lift millions of people out of poverty and reduce hardship for millions more.

SNAP benefits are not counted as income in Census Bureau’s official poverty numbers—but we know they make a real difference to struggling families. For example, the Census Bureau reported today that if SNAP benefits had been counted as income, the 2012 poverty rate would be 1.3 percentage points lower—and four million more people would be above the poverty line.

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Women's Health Insurance Coverage Remains Steady

Today, the Census Bureau released new data on the rates of health insurance coverage in 2012. Overall, the percentage of uninsured Americans decreased from 15.7 percent in 2011 to 15.4 percent in 2012, which represents over 600,000 newly insured Americans.

Rates of health coverage increased slightly or remained steady for women aged 18-64:

  • The rate of women without health insurance declined slightly, from 19.6 percent in 2011 to 19.2 percent in 2012. But, over 18 million women still remain uninsured in 2012.
  • Medicaid continued to provide health insurance to about 12 percent of women in 2011 and 2012.
  • And, health coverage for young adult women ages 19 to 25 also remained steady, with about 25 percent lacking health coverage in both 2011 and 2012.
Read more »