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Facts for Features
CB11-FF.04
Jan. 26, 2011

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Women's History Month: March 2011


National Women's History Month dates back to March 8, 1857, when women from New York City factories staged a protest over working conditions. International Women's Day was first observed in 1909, but it wasn't until 1981 that Congress established National Women's History Week to be commemorated the second week of March. In 1987, Congress expanded the week to a month. Every year since, Congress has passed a resolution for Women's History Month, and the President has issued a proclamation.

157.2 million

The number of females in the United States as of Oct. 1, 2010. The number of males was 153.2 million.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/national/asrh/2009/2009-nat-res.html>

At 85 and older, there were more than twice as many women as men.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/national/asrh/2009/tables/NC-EST2009-02.x/s>

Motherhood

82.8 million

Estimated number of mothers of all ages in the United States.
Source: Unpublished data from Survey of Income and Program Participation

1.9

Average number of children that women 40 to 44 had given birth to as of 2008, down from 3.1 children in 1976, the year the Census Bureau began collecting such data. The percentage of women in this age group who had given birth was 82 percent in 2008, down from 90 percent in 1976.
Source: Fertility of American Women: 2008 <http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p20-563.pdf>

Earnings

$36,278

The median annual earnings of women 15 or older who worked year-round, full time, in 2009, up 1.9 percent from $35,609 in 2008 (after adjusting for inflation). Women earned 77 cents for every $1 earned by men.
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/income_wealth/cb10-144.html> and <http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p60-238.pdf>

88%

The ratio of women's-to-men's earnings in the District of Columbia in 2009, among the highest of any state or state equivalent in the nation, with a ratio at or above 80 percent, along with Arizona, California, Nevada, New York, Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Maryland.
Earnings by State: 2009 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/acsbr09-3.pdf>

Education

29.9 million

Number of women 25 and older with a bachelor's degree or more education in 2009, higher than the corresponding number for men (28.7 million). Women had a larger share of high school diplomas, as well as associate, bachelor's and master's degrees. More men than women had a professional or doctoral degree.
Source: Educational Attainment in the United States: 2009 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/education/cb10-55.html> or <http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/education/>

30%

Percentage of women 25 and older who had obtained a bachelor's degree or more as of 2009.
Source: Educational Attainment in the United States: 2009 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/education/cb10-55.html> or <http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/education/>

55%

Percentage of college students in fall 2008 who were women.
Source: School Enrollment in the United States: 2008 <http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/school/cps2008/tab01-01.xls>

Businesses

Source for the statements in this section: Survey of Business Owners: Women-Owned Businesses: 2007 <http://www.census.gov/econ/sbo> and <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/business_ownership/cb10-184.html>

$1.2 trillion

Receipts for women-owned businesses in 2007. There were 141,893 women-owned businesses with receipts of $1 million or more.

7.8 million

The number of women-owned businesses in 2007. Women owned 29 percent of all nonfarm businesses; 910,761 of these were employer firms. Women were also equal owners with men of another 4.6 million businesses.

7.6 million

Number of people employed by women-owned businesses in 2007. There were 7,644 women-owned businesses with 100 or more employees, generating $357.9 billion in gross receipts.

More than 45 percent of women-owned businesses operated in health care and social assistance, and other services, such as personal services; professional, scientific, and technical services; and repair and maintenance. Women owned 52 percent of all businesses operating in the health care and social assistance sector. Wholesale and retail trade accounted for 36 percent of women-owned business revenue.

13%

Percentage of women-owned businesses in California in 2007, which had the most women-owned businesses at 1 million. Texas was second with 610,162 or 8.0 percent of all women-owned businesses. New York was third in number with 594,421, accounting for 7.8 percent of all women-owned businesses.

Voting

66%

Percentage of female citizens 18 and older who reported voting in the 2008 presidential election. Sixty-two percent of their male counterparts cast a ballot. Additionally, 73 percent of female citizens reported being registered to vote.
Source: Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/voting/cb09-110.html>

Jobs

59%

In 2009, the percentage of females 16 and older who participated in the labor force, representing about 72 million women.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov/cps/>

39%

Percentage of females 16 or older who worked in management, professional and related occupations, compared with 33 percent of males.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DatasetMainPageServlet?_program=ACS&_submenuId=datasets_2&_lang=en>

23.9 million

Number of female workers in educational services, health care and social assistance industries. More women worked in this industry group than in any other. Within this industry group, 12 million worked in the health care industry, 9.1 million in educational services and 2.8 million worked in the social assistance industry.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DatasetMainPageServlet?_program=ACSamp;_submenuId=datasets_2amp;_lang=en>

111,000

Number of female police officers across the country in 2009. In addition, there were about 9,700 women firefighters, 338,000 lawyers, 294,000 physicians and surgeons, and 38,000 pilots. (Note: Number of pilots pertains to 2008.)
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011, Tables 615 and 1082 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

Military

197,900

Total number of active duty women in the military, as of Sept. 30, 2008.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011, Table 508. <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

14%

Proportion of members of the armed forces who were women, as of Sept. 30, 2008.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011, Table 508. <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

1.5 million

The number of military veterans who were women in 2009.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DatasetMainPageServlet?_program=ACS&_submenuId=datasets_2&_lang=en>

Marriage

65.1 million

Number of married women 18 and older (including those who were separated or had an absent spouse) in 2010.
Source: Families and Living Arrangements: 2010 <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2010.html> Table A-1

20.7

Percentage of married couples in which the wife earned at least $5,000 more than the husband in 2010.
Source: Families and Living Arrangements: 2010 <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2010.html> Table FG3

5 million

Number of stay-at-home mothers (where spouse is in the labor force) nationwide in 2010. In comparison there were 154,000 stay-at-home fathers.
Source: Families and Living Arrangements: 2010 <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam.html> Table SHP1

Sports

3.1 million

Number of girls who participated in high school athletic programs in the 2008-09 school year.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011, Table 1247. <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

182,503

Number of women who participated in a National Collegiate Athletic Association sport in 2008-09.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011, Table 1246. <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

Following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series:

  • African-American History Month (February)
  • Super Bowl
  • Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
  • Women's History Month (March)
  • Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
          St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
  • Earth Day (April 22)
  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
  • Older Americans Month (May)
  • Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
  • Mother's Day
  • Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
  • Father's Day
  • The Fourth of July (July 4)
  • Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
  • Back to School (August)
  • Labor Day
  • Grandparents Day
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
  • Unmarried and Single Americans Week
  • Halloween (Oct. 31)
  • American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • The Holiday Season (December)

Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: <PIO@census.gov>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: September 09, 2014