Mancession? Women still bear the brunt of U.S. poverty

Mancession? Women still bear the brunt of U.S. poverty

While many have called this decade's economic downturn a "mancession," because of how men have been hit by the crisis, women and children are still bearing the brunt of the nation's poverty problem, census data show.

The poverty rate among women was 14.5 percent in 2010, up from 13.9 percent in 2009. Like the nation's poverty rate, it's the highest rate in 17 years. By contrast, the poverty rate for men in 2010 was 11.2 percent, rising from 10.5 percent in 2009.

In addition, more women are living in "extreme poverty," defined as having an income less than half of the poverty level.  That number was 6.3 percent in 2010, an increase from 5.9 percent in 2009, the highest rate since this was first measured 22 years ago.

Poverty rates were even higher among select groups of women, particularly women of color and single moms. A quarter of all black and Hispanic women live in poverty. While 38.5 percent of single moms lived in poverty in 2009, that number is up to 40.7 percent.

The child poverty rate, which has been making headlines for years, also grew. It's currently at 22 percent, with more than half of those children living in female-headed households.

Health insurance rates for women also plummeted. Nearly one in five women doesn't have health coverage. More women are uninsured than have been anytime in the last decade--19.7 percent. In addition, less women were covered by Medicaid in 2010 than in 2009.

And what about work, the solution to our economic woes? Women are still behind the wage gap, particularly women of color.  While white women made 77 cents on the male dollar, black women made only 62 cents and Hispanic women 54 cents.

Photo credit: Nick Johnson

© Community Renewal Society 2011

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