U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Household Composition

In 2008, 49.1 percent of women aged 18 years and older were married and living with a spouse; this includes married couples living with other people, such as parents. Nearly 12 percent of women over age 18 were the heads of their households, meaning that they have children or other family members, but no spouse, living with them in a housing unit that they own or rent. Housing units may include houses, apartments, groups of rooms, or a single room that is intended to be used as separate living quarters.

Women who are heads of households include single mothers, single women with a parent or other close relative living in their home, and women with other household compositions. More than 17 percent of women lived with parents or other relatives, 15.0 percent lived alone and 6.9 percent lived with non-relatives.

Women in families with no spouse present are more likely than women in married couple families to have incomes below poverty (see “Women and Poverty” on the next page). In 2008, non-Hispanic Black women were most likely to be single heads of households with family members present (28.1 percent), while non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander and non-Hispanic White women were least likely (7.9 and 9.0 percent, respectively). Nearly 14 percent of non-Hispanic women of multiple races and 17.0 percent each of Hispanic and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native women were single heads of households that included other family members.

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