U.S. Department of Commerce

Newsroom

Skip top of page navigation
Facts for Features
CB10-FF.03
Jan. 5, 2010

Women's History Month: March 2010

National Women's History Month's roots go 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.

155.8 million

The number of females in the United States as of Oct. 1, 2009. The number of males was 151.8 million.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/data/>

At 85 and older, there were more than twice as many women as men.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/data/>

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Source: Unpublished data from Survey of Income and Program Participation.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 2006, 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 80 percent in 2006, down from 90 percent in 1976.
Source: Fertility of American Women: 2006 <http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p20-558.pdf>

Earnings

$35,745

The median annual earnings of women 15 or older who worked year-round, full time, in 2008, down from $36,451 in 2007 (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: 2008 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/income_wealth/cb09-141.html>

88 percent

The ratio of women's-to-men's earnings in the District of Columbia in 2008, among the highest of any state or state equivalent in the nation along with California, Arizona, Maryland, New York, Vermont, Georgia and Hawaii.
Source: Men's and Women's Earnings by State: 2008 American Community Survey.

Education

29.4 million

Number of women 25 and older with a bachelor's degree or more education in 2008, higher than the corresponding number for men (28.4 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: 2008 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/education/cb09-66.html>

29%

Percent of women 25 and older who had obtained a bachelor's degree or more as of 2008.
Source: Educational Attainment in the United States: 2008 <http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/education/cps2008/tabA-2.xls>

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: Women-Owned Firms: 2002 <http://www.census.gov/prod/ec02/sb0200cswmnt.pdf> and Company Summary: 2002 <http://www.census.gov/prod/ec02/sb0200cscosumt.pdf>

More than $939 billion

Revenue for women-owned businesses in 2002. There were 116,985 women-owned businesses with receipts of $1 million or more.

Nearly 6.5 million

The number of women-owned businesses in 2002. Women owned 28 percent of all nonfarm businesses; 916,657 of these were employer firms.

More than 7.1 million

Number of people employed by women-owned businesses. There were 7,231 women-owned businesses with 100 or more employees, generating $274 billion in gross receipts.

Nearly one in three women-owned businesses operated in health care and social assistance, and other services, such as personal services, and repair and maintenance. Women owned 72 percent of social assistance businesses and just over half of nursing and residential care facilities. Wholesale and retail trade accounted for 38 percent of women-owned business revenue.

13%

Percentage of women-owned businesses in California, which had the most women-owned businesses at 870,496. New York was second with 505,077 or 8 percent of all women-owned businesses. Texas was third in number with 468,705, accounting for 7 percent of all women-owned businesses.

Note: The 2007 Preliminary Estimates of Business Ownership by Gender, Ethnicity, and Race will be available in July 2010 and the more detailed 2007 Women-Owned Businesses report will be published in December 2010.

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/hhes/www/socdemo/voting/>

Jobs

59%

In 2008, 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/cpsaat2.pdf>

38%

Percent of females 16 or older who worked in management, professional and related occupations, compared with 32 percent of males.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey <http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml>

23.8 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, 11.9 million worked in the health care industry, 9.1 million in educational services and 2.7 million worked in the social assistance industry.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey <http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml>

67%

Chances are that your taxes will be prepared by a woman, as this was the percentage of tax preparers who were women in 2008. In addition, 72 percent of travel agents were women.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 603. <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

99,000

Number of female police officers across the country in 2008. In addition, there were about 14,000 women firefighters, 349,000 lawyers, 267,000 physicians and surgeons, and 36,000 pilots. (Note: Number of pilots pertains to 2007.)
Source: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Tables 603 and 1047 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

Military

197,900

Total number of active duty women in the military, as of Sept. 30, 2008. Of that total, 34,300 women were officers, and 163,600 were enlisted.
Source: U.S. Department of Defense, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 498. <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

14%

Proportion of members of the armed forces who were women, as of Sept. 30, 2008.
Source: U.S. Department of Defense, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 498. <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

1.7 million

The number of military veterans who were women in 2008.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 509. <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

Marriage

64.5 million

Number of married women 18 and older (including those who were separated or had an absent spouse) in 2008.
Source: Families and Living Arrangements: 2008 <http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2008/tabA1-all.xls>

18%

Percentage of married couples in which the wife earned at least $5,000 more than the husband in 2008.
Source: Families and Living Arrangements: 2008 <http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2008/tabFG3-all.xls>

5.3 million

Number of stay-at-home mothers nationwide in 2008.
Source: Families and Living Arrangements: 2008 <http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/shp1.xls>

Sports

3.1 million

Number of girls who participated in high school athletic programs in the 2007-08 school year. In the 1979-80 school year, only 1.75 million girls were members of a high school athletic team.
Source: National Federation of State High School Associations, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 1211. <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

178,084

Number of women who participated in a National Collegiate Athletic Association sport in 2007-08.
Source: National Collegiate Atheletic Association (NCAA), as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 1210. <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>.

[Excel] or the letters [xls] indicate a document is in the Microsoft® Excel® Spreadsheet Format (XLS). To view the file, you will need the Microsoft® Excel® Viewer Off Site available for free from Microsoft®. [PDF] or PDF denotes a file in Adobe’s Portable Document Format. To view the file, you will need the Adobe® Reader® Off Site available free from Adobe. This symbol Off Site indicates a link to a non-government web site. Our linking to these sites does not constitute an endorsement of any products, services or the information found on them. Once you link to another site you are subject to the policies of the new site.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: February 10, 2014