The Census Bureau just released new data on poverty in the U.S. in 2014 and here’s the scoop: being a woman puts you at a greater risk of poverty. The odds of being poor are about one-third higher for women than for men, and if you’re a woman of color, a single mother, a woman with a disability, or an older woman living alone, the odds of being poor are even greater. Continued job growth in 2014 failed to significantly lower the overall poverty rate or increase median household income. And the wage gap between women and men remained wide, with women typically making just 79 cents to a man’s dollar.
But today’s data isn’t all bad. Today’s release shows that because of the Affordable Care Act, 90 percent of women and girls have health insurance. The remarkable decline in the proportion of women who lack health insurance extends to women of all races. With affordable health insurance, women have a far better chance of protecting themselves and their families, and today’s numbers show the ACA to be a resounding success.
We’ll be crunching numbers throughout the day, but here’s a first look at poverty, the wage gap, and health insurance coverage among women and their families in 2014:
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.
- 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.
Stay tuned to NWLC’s blog and follow @nwlc on Twitter (#talkpoverty) and Facebook to learn more about what the Census data tells us about how women and their families are faring— and to find out what you can do to help make sure next year’s data show improvements on all fronts.