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Working Paper Number SEHSD-WP2013-05
Laryssa Mykyta and Trudi J. Renwick
Component ID: #ti2118559944

Paper presented at the January 2013 Annual Convention of the Allied Social Sciences Associations, San Diego, CA. The views expressed in this research, including those related to statistical, methodological, technical, or operational issues, are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions or policies of the Census Bureau, or the view of other staff members. The authors accept responsibility for all errors. This paper reports the results of research and analysis undertaken by Census Bureau staff. It has undergone more limited review than official publications.

Component ID: #ti164686856


In general, in the United States poverty rates for women are higher than poverty rates for men and the majority of people in poverty are women. For example, in 2011, 16.3 percent of women had incomes below their official poverty threshold compared to 13.6 percent of men. Using the official measure, the ratio of the female poverty rate to the male poverty rate was 1.2 — women were 20 percent more likely to be poor than men. Of all people categorized as in poverty in 2011, approximately 56 percent were women. While 19.5 percent of all families were headed by women, more than 50 percent of families in poverty were headed by women. The ratio of the poverty rate for female householder families to marriedcouple families was 5.1. (DeNavas-Walt,, 2012)

There are several reasons for the disparity in poverty status by gender, including differences in wages, labor force participation and family composition. This paper will explore recent trends in the gender disparities in poverty status and describe the impact of using an alternative poverty measure, the Supplemental Poverty Measure, on gender differences in poverty status.

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