NWLC Analysis Finds Poverty Rates for Women and Families Surged From 2021 to 2022

Washington, DC – A new National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) analysis found that between 2021 and 2022, the poverty rate for families with children headed by single women as measured by the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) more than doubled from 11.9 percent to 26.7 percent. The SPM poverty rate for older women also increased between 2021 and 2022 from 11.7 percent to 15.3 percent.

The analysis follows the release of Census Bureau data in September that showed that the expiration of pandemic-era relief fueled the country’s largest ever recorded single-year increase in SPM poverty in more than 50 years.

Melissa Boteach, Vice President of Income Security and Child Care at NWLC, released a statement on the analysis’ findings:

“Poverty is a policy choice. We have clear evidence that the expanded child tax credit, stimulus payments, and Unemployment Insurance helped millions of families afford food, rent, child care, and more. Unsurprisingly, Congress’ failure to extend these supports led to skyrocketing poverty rates, increased hunger, and greater hardship among women and children last year.

“It is inexcusable that Congress continues to fail women and families by not immediately reinstating the expanded Child Tax Credit and other supports that are critical to reducing poverty.”

You can read the full report here: National Snapshot: Poverty Among Women & Families in 2022

NWLC’s research reveals how public policy impacts women, children, and families, underscoring the need for long-term public investments in critical supports that women and families rely on:

  • NWLC, in partnership with the Center for Law and Social Policy, recently released results of a nationwide survey, which found that after the expanded Child Tax Credit expired, families had a harder time affording essentials like bills and food.
  • NWLC and Justice In Aging released a report earlier this year showing that older women of color weathered income losses and illness, disproportionately served as caregivers, and struggled to afford food, housing, and health care throughout the pandemic. The report also highlights policy solutions that are targeted to support the economic security and health of older women of color.
  • NWLC recently released a new factsheet underscoring the importance of improving the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program to help advance gender, racial, and disability justice.
    • Earlier this year, NWLC released an issue brief highlighting how key anti-poverty programs, such as housing assistance, refundable tax credits, nutrition programs, and unemployment insurance can help lift women, women of color, and LGBTQ  individuals out of poverty.