NWLC’s detailed gender analysis of U.S. Census poverty, income, and health insurance data released on September 16, 2015 found that women’s poverty rates were once again substantially above the poverty rates for men. The data also show that income supports such as Social Security benefits lifted the income of millions of Americans above the poverty line.

The wage gap remained stayed statistically unchanged from 2013, with women working full, time, year round paid only 79 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts.

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Data in Detail

Poverty among Women and Families

  • More than one in seven women, more than 18 million, lived in poverty. The poverty rate among women was 14.7 percent in 2014.
  • The poverty rate for adult men in 2014, 10.9 percent, was lower than for women.
  • Poverty rates were particularly high for women who head families (39.8 percent), African American women (25.0 percent), Hispanic women (22.8 percent), and women 65 and older living alone (19.7 percent), and women ages 18-64 with a disability (31.9 percent).
  • The poverty rate for women 65 and older was 12.1 percent in 2014, compared to 7.4 percent for their male counterparts. More than two-thirds (68.1 percent) of elderly poor are women.
  • More than half (56.7 percent) of poor children lived in female-headed families in 2014.

Wage Gap

  • Women working full time, year round were paid only 79 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, statistically unchanged since 2007.
  • African American women working full time, year round were typically paid only 60 cents for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts, statistically unchanged from 2013.
  • Hispanic women working full time, year round were typically paid only 55 cents for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts, statistically unchanged from 2013.
  • Asian American women working full time, year round were typically paid only 84 cents for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts, statistically unchanged from 2013.
  • White, non-Hispanic women working full time, year round were typically paid 75 cents for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts, statistically unchanged from 2013.

Health Insurance and Medicaid Coverage

  • As of 2014, more than 90 percent of women and girls have health insurance.
  • Uninsurance among working-age women fell by 4 percentage points between 2013 and 2014, from 17 percent to 13 percent for women ages 18 to 64.
  • Women continue to rely more heavily on Medicaid coverage than men. Sixteen percent of adult women ages 18 to 64 are enrolled in Medicaid, compared to 13 percent of adult men. Overall, Medicaid coverage for women in this age group grew by nearly 3 percentage points.
  • Direct purchase health insurance — which includes the health insurance Marketplaces — now covers 13.6 million adult women, a 43 percent increase from 2013; 13.6 million women purchased coverage for themselves in 2014.
  • Adult women of all races gained health insurance in 2014, with Hispanic women experiencing the greatest gains in proportion to their numbers. However, Hispanic women still have the highest rates of uninsurance among women ages 18-64, with 24 percent going without coverage, compared to 13 percent of white women and almost 15 percent of African American women.
Published On: October 21, 2015Associated Issues: Economic AgendaPoverty & Economic Security