Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center


Poverty Among Seniors is Dramatically Higher Under the Supplemental Poverty Measure

For anyone who thinks that poverty among seniors is a thing of the past, the data released this morning by the U.S. Census Bureau should serve as a wake-up call. Read more »

5 Public Programs that Lifted Millions of Women and Children Out of Poverty in 2013

In 2013, Social Security kept 12.0 million women and 1.2 million children out of poverty.

This new statistic can be calculated based on data released today by the Census Bureau. Also part of the release of new data is a report on the supplemental poverty measure (SPM) [PDF] which takes into account the impact of public programs, as well as medical out-of-pocket and other expenses on families’ economic security. (For more about poverty measurement, see our FAQ.)

This past September, the Census Bureau released the official poverty numbers for 2013, which showed that women’s poverty remained historically high, with 18.0 million women (14.5 percent) in poverty. Our report detailed what the numbers looked like and the trends over time. But what we didn’t get to see in that data was how many people’s incomes were pulled above the poverty line by specific public programs, some of which are counted in the official poverty measure and some of which aren’t. Today, we can delve deeper into how many people were lifted out of poverty by these programs and who they were. Read more »

The Persistent Inequality in Women's Economic Security

Here at NWLC, the work we do on behalf of women and families recognizes that without economic security, women cannot truly achieve equality.  Take a quick glance at our latest numbers on women living in poverty, and you’ll see that we have a long way to go.

Data released last month from the Census Bureau showed the continuation of a long-standing reality – that women are far more likely to be poor than men.  The poverty rate for women was 14.5%, compared to only 11% for men. 11% is higher than pre-recession poverty rates for men, yet still lower than women’s record-low poverty rate, which was 11.5% back in 2000.  This disparity holds true across racial and ethnic groups— in 2013 Black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American women all had higher poverty rates than their male counterparts.  Read more »

Louisiana Has the Largest Wage Gap, D.C. Has the Smallest in 2013

Today the Census released new state-level data on income in 2013. We’ve been crunching numbers on the wage gap—here the key facts you need to know: Read more »

Reflecting on Poverty Day, Take a Moment to Support Reproductive Justice

The Supreme Court once recognized that, “The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.” Most Americans get this connection. As we think about Poverty Day, it is particularly important that we remember this critical connection.

So what happens when the government blocks women’s access to reproductive care, particularly abortion? Just taking a wild guess here that it’s not equal participation in the economic and social life of the nation.   Read more »

Without the Safety Net, Millions More Would Have Lived in Poverty in 2013

I have good news and bad news. I’m the type who always wants to hear the bad news first, so here it is: newly released Census Bureau data show that more than 45 million Americans lived in poverty last year. Read more »

Whose Poverty Rate Increased Last Year? Older Women's

As we reported, today’s poverty numbers show no improvement in the poverty rate for women overall. Hispanic women saw their poverty rate decline; African

 American women did not.  We haven’t finished crunching all the numbers.  But we know that at least one group of women saw an increase in poverty: women 65 and older.

The poverty rate for women 65 and older increased to 11.6 percent in 2013 from 11.0 in 2012, a statistically significant change. The poverty rate for men 65 and older in 2013 was 6.8 percent, statistically unchanged from 2012.  More than two-thirds (68.1 percent) of the elderly poor are women.

How the Wage Gap Hurts Working Families & What Can Be Done to Close It

Another year, another $10,876 lost. That’s how much a woman working full time, year round was typically underpaid compared to her male counterpart in 2013, according to NWLC analysis of new Census Bureau data.

Our analysis shows that women in full-time, year-round jobs make 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts—about the same as last year’s figure of 77 cents. The wage gap for women of color is even larger—with African American women making 64 cents and Latinas making 56 cents to their white, male, non-Latino counterparts’ dollar. Read more »

The Story Behind the Numbers: The Wage Gap

Tomorrow, the Census Bureau will release new data on poverty, income, and health insurance in the U.S. in 2013. As we get ready to crunch numbers, we thought it would be helpful to take a deeper look at what these numbers tell us — and don’t tell us — about the wage gap.

The typical American woman who works full time, year round was still paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart in 2012. For women of color, the gaps are even larger. This blog post provides details about the wage gap measure that the Census Bureau and the National Women’s Law Center use, factors contributing to the wage gap, and how to shrink the gap. Read more »