Report: Reading Between the Lines: Women’s Poverty in the United States, 2010
Legal Momentum provides a gender analysis of the 2010 US Census Bureau statistics on poverty showing that women are 29% more likely to be poor, and looks at the rates of poverty among different segments of the population organized by age, family structure, and educational level.
The Census Bureau poverty data for 2010 show the largest number of poor people in the 52 years that poverty has been measured, 46.2 million, and the highest overall poverty rate, 15.1%, since 1993. The growth in poverty in 2010 reflects the continuing impact of the great recession that began in 2007 and that officially ended in June 2009. Since unemployment has remained high in 2011, the poverty rate may increase again this year.
There has been a large gender poverty gap in every year since the official poverty standard was created. In 2010, adult woman were 29 percent more likely to be poor than adult men, with a poverty rate of 14.5% compared to a 11.2% rate for adult men. There were 17.2 million poor adult women compared to 12.6 million poor adult men.
The Census Bureau has done little to publicize the gender poverty gap. While its annual poverty reports highlight poverty rate differences based on categories such as age and race, the Bureau has resisted giving similar attention to poverty rate differences based on gender. As the lack of attention to gender distorts the public perception of poverty in this country, this Legal Momentum report focuses on women’s poverty, using the detailed poverty information that the Census Bureau makes available on its website. The Census statistics reveal a deep gender gap in poverty rates, even when factors such as work experience, education, or family structure are taken into account.