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The U.S. Census Bureau released a report showing a significant decrease in U.S. economic security, tied to a rise in unemployment, between 2008 and 2009. The report highlights trends in median income, poverty and health insurance coverage during this time frame.
NPP's Income Security and Labor provide a powerful context for the report's major findings, including:
The U.S. poverty rate in 2009 rose to 14.3% from 13.2% in 2008. In 2009, 43.6 million Americans – or one in seven – lived in poverty, up from 39.8 million the prior year. The Bureau notes this is the third consecutive increase.
The number of individuals living without health insurance jumped 4.3 million to a record 50.7 million people.
In the U.S. today, the largest group of people living in poverty is women. The National Women's Law Center's report, Poverty Among Women and Families, 2000-2009: Great Recession Brings Highest Rate in 15 Years, analyzes the impact of the economic crisis and rise in unemployment on women.
Here are a few of the report's major findings:
Women v. men: By 2009, there were 16.41 million adult women living in poverty and 11.7 million adult men living in poverty.
Record poverty rates: The poverty rate among adult women reached 13.9% in 2009, increasing from 13% in 2008. This is the highest rate in 15 years and the .9% jump from 2008 to 2009 is the biggest increase in a single-year since 1980.
High unemployment since 2007: Unemployment among women who head families has increased to nearly twice the pre-recession rate – 6.9% in December 2007 to 13.4% in July 2010.
Married couples: In 2008, 1.4 million married couples with children relied solely on the women's earnings. In 2009, this number increased by 36.6% to reach 1.9 million, making one-third of working mothers the sole wage-earner in the family.
Single mothers: In 2009, 12.5% of single women with children who worked full time, year-round lived in poverty.
Female v. male-headed families: In 2009, poverty rates among families with children headed by females rather than by males were much higher – 38.5% compared to 23.7%. When broken down by ethnicity, female-headed families with children reached even higher poverty rates of (44.2% for Blacks, 46% for Hispanics and 44.4% for Native Americans).
Children and poverty: In 2009, 20.7% of children – or 15.45 million – lived in poverty. Over 50% of those children lived in female-headed families.
Women 65 and older: Women 65 and older were the only subgroup to experience a decline in poverty from 2008 to 2009. Despite the decrease, in 2009, 2.3 million women 65 and older (or 10.7%) lived in poverty as compared to 1.1 million men 65 and older (or 6.6%).
Wage gap: In 2009, women who worked full-time, year-round made 77 cents to every dollar made by men also working full-time, year round. Although both male and female median annual earnings increased from 2008 to 2009, a female worker earned $10,849 less than a male counterpart in 2009 – a $267 bigger gap in income than in 2008.