Trust me: it’s no fun being the bearer of bad news.

I recently told you that since the recession officially ended, women’s unemployment rates have actually increased. But that’s not the only grim reality: today the Census Bureau released new data, and NWLC’s analysis finds that record numbers of women are living in poverty — and extreme poverty.

With two-thirds of women in the role of head of their household or a contributor to their family’s income, it’s more important than ever to make sure that unemployed women have a chance to get back to work. That’s why President Obama’s plan for job creation, submitted to Congress this week, has come at such a critical time for women and their families. Congress needs to act quickly on these proposals to address the immediate deficit facing this country — the jobs deficit. The numbers released today by the Census Bureau underscore the urgency.

Urge your Members of Congress to act on job creation NOW!

Here are just a few important findings from the new data:

  • The rise in women living in poverty: 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 — both all-time highs. The poverty rate among women rose to 14.5 percent in 2010 from 13.9 percent in 2009, the highest rate in 17 years. The poverty rate among single mothers climbed to 40.7 percent in 2010; more than half of all poor children lived with single mothers.
  • The wage gap: The wage gap for women remained as wide as in 2009. Women working full-time year-round were paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts.
  • Uninsured women: 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.

You can get more details from our press release and check back later this week for our further analysis of what these new numbers mean for women and their families.

Tell your Members of Congress to take action on the President’s proposals to create jobs, grow the economy, and alleviate hardship for women and families. And tell them not undercut job-creation measures by cutting funding for vital public services, which would destroy jobs and make it harder for struggling families to make ends meet.

The President issued the call to action and submitted his plan to Congress. Now it’s up to Congress to act!