Census Reveals Increasing Number of Impoverished, Uninsured Women

According to new 2010 census figures released yesterday, the gender wage gap has not changed in the past year, with women still earning only 77 cents to every dollar earned by men overall.  African American women earned only 67.7 cents and Latinas earned 58.7 cents on the male dollar.

The census report also revealed that many women are currently impoverished in the United States. According to 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…Over 17 million women lived in poverty in 2010, including more than 7.5 million in extreme poverty; extreme poverty means income below half the federal poverty line.” The number of women living in extreme poverty is now 6.3 percent, up from 5.9 percent in 2009.

In addition, the census indicated an increase in the number of women living without health insurance. Approximately one in five women did not have health insurance coverage in 2010, which is the greatest rate of uninsured women in the past ten years.

Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security at the National Women’s Law Center, stated, “Behind today’s grim statistics are real people who are finding it harder than ever to keep a roof over their heads, feed their families, get the health care they need and give their children a chance at a better life. The record numbers of women and families living in extreme poverty and without health insurance should send an urgent wake-up call to Congress to tackle the immediate deficit facing this nation – the lack of jobs – by acting swiftly on President Obama’s job creation proposals and passing a robust package that will put millions of American women and men back to work.”

Overall, the number of impoverished people in the country has grown dramatically in the past year with 46.2 million living in poverty. This represents the third year in a row that the poverty rate has increased. Moreover, according to the Chicago Tribune, approximately one million Americans did not have health insurance last year. For one person, the poverty line was an income of $11,139, and for a family of four, it was $22,314.

Chicago Tribune 9/14/11; CNN 9/14/11; Census 9/13/11; National Women’s LAw Center 9/13/11; National Committee on Pay Equity 9/13/11

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