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Household Composition

Narrative

In 2009, 49.5 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. About 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. 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 alone, 15.0 percent lived with relatives, and 5.7 percent lived with non-relatives.

Household composition varies significantly by age. Young women aged 18–24 years were most likely to be living with relatives (56.9 percent) and with non-relatives (14.1 percent). More than 60 percent of women aged 35–44 and 45–64 were living with a spouse. Being a head of household was most common among women aged 25–44. Older women (aged 65 and older) were most likely to be living alone (38.6 percent) with another 41.3 percent living with a spouse.

In 2009, there were 62.3 million married and unmarried couples in households. Among these, 89.6 percent were married opposite-sex couples, 9.5 percent were unmarried opposite-sex couples, and slightly less than 1 percent were same-sex couples. Among same-sex couples, 51.8 percent were female couples.1

Children were present in about 42 percent of married or unmarried opposite-sex couple households, 23.9 percent of female couple households, and 11.8 percent of male couple households.5

In 2009, non-Hispanic Black women were most likely to be single heads of households with family members present (27.5 percent), while non-Hispanic Asian, non-Hispanic White, and non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander women were least likely (7.8, 9.0, and 10.5 percent, respectively).

1 U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey. Families and Living Arrangements. Accessed 06/07/11.

Graphs

Data

Women Aged 18 and Older,* by Age and Household Composition, 2009
Age group Percent of Women
Married, Spouse Present Head of Household, No Spouse Present Living Alone Living with Relatives Living with Non-Relatives
*Includes the civilian, non-institutionalized population.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, March 2009 Supplement. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Information Resource Center.
18-24 years 10.8 9.3 8.9 56.9 14.1
25-34 years 48.1 15.7 11.9 14.5 9.7
35-44 years 62.6 17.0 8.0 7.4 4.9
45-64 years 61.6 11.5 16.3 7.1 3.4
65 years and older 41.3 9.3 38.6 9.7 1.2
Total 49.5 12.5 17.3 15.0 5.7

Women Aged 18 and Older Who Are Heads of Households with Family Members,* by Race/Ethnicity, 2009

Percent of Women:

  • Non-Hispanic White: 9.0
  • Non-Hispanic Black: 27.5
  • Hispanic: 17.7
  • Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native: 18.6
  • Non-Hispanic Asian: 7.8
  • Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander: 10.5
  • Non-Hispanic Multiple Race: 15.4

*Includes the civilian, non-institutionalized population; includes those who are heads of households and have children or other family members, but no spouse, living in a house that they own or rent.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, March 2009 Supplement. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Information Resource Center.

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