The Number of Women in Poverty Hasn’t Declined in a Year

Last year, almost 18 million women lived in poverty in the US – and that number hasn’t improved for women, despite the overall poverty rate declining.

via Flickr
via Franco Folini

Analysis from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) of recently released US Census Bureau data shows that the poverty rate for women is not only virtually unchanged, but – at 14.5 percent – it’s the highest in two decades. Overall, one in seven women live in poverty. Close to 40 percent of women who head families are in poverty, and two-thirds of the elderly who are in poverty are women. Of all groups of women, only Latinas saw a decline in poverty between 2012 and 2013. Their analysis comes after a study that found one in four Americans lived in high-poverty areas in 2012.

“The data reflect a grim reality for millions of women and their families, despite a welcome decline in the overall poverty rate,” NWLC Vice President for Family Economic Security Joan Entmacher said.  “Incomes are growing for those at the top, but those at the bottom—mostly women and children—are being left behind.”

Additionally, NWLC data also shows that the wage gap only closed by one cent from 2012 to 2013, with women now earning 78 cents to every man’s dollar on average.

“Today’s data speak volumes for the millions of Americans who simply can’t wait any longer for policies to give them a hand up out of poverty,” Entmacher said.

Media Resources: National Women’s Law Center 9/16/2014; Feminist Newswire 7/8/2014; US Census Bureau 6/2014

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