Women's Health USA 2007
Photographs of women's faces

Population Characteristics

Women AND Poverty

In 2005, nearly 37 million people in the United States lived with incomes below the poverty level.1 The poverty rate for all women 18 years and older in 2005 was 12.9 percent (14.6 million women), compared to a rate of 8.9 percent for men. With regard to race and ethnicity, non-Hispanic White women were the least likely to experience poverty (9.3 percent), while Black women were the most likely (24.2 percent).

Women in families—a group of at least two people related by birth, marriage, or adoption and residing together—experience higher rates of poverty than men in families (9.6 versus 6.3 percent). Men in families with no spouse present were considerably less likely to be in a family that lived below the poverty level than women in families with no spouse present (11.3 versus 25.9 percent).

1 The Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is poor. If a family’s total income is less than that family’s threshold, then that family and every individual in it is considered to be poor. Examples of 2005 poverty levels were $9,973 for an individual, $12,755 for a family of two, $15,577 for a family of three, and $19,971 for a family of four. These levels differ from the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) used to determine eligibility for Federal programs.


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Women's Health USA 2007 is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use all or part of the information contained on this page. Suggested Citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Women's Health USA 2007. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007.