WHER Chat: Lowest Poverty Rate for Female-Householder Families


Burgandy Basulto is a Content Writer at NAWRB. She has a bachelor’s degree in both English and Philosophy, and a master’s degree in Philosophy. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves running, kickboxing, watching films, trying new restaurants she finds via Yelp, and experiencing other cultures during her travels.

According to a new U.S. Census Bureau report, the official poverty rate decreased 0.5 percentage points from 12.3 percent to 11.8 percent between 2017 and 2018. A large proportion of this decline is attributed to a drop in the poverty rate of female-householder families with no spouse present, which dropped by 1.7 percentage points to 26.8 percent. The poverty rate for this group is at the lowest on record. The previous low poverty rate for these families was 28.5 percent in both 2000 and 2017.

People in female-householder families represent 17.8 percent of the population in primary families (i.e., two or more related people living together with one as householder), and they comprised 83.9 percent of the decrease in poverty for families, or 1 million of the 1.2 million decrease. Male-householder families made up 91,000 and married-couples represented 106,000. 

The report states that female-householder families were the only type of family to have a statistically significant decrease in poverty in the last year. This is likely related to the fact that workers in female-householder families worked full-time, year-round at a greater rate with employment changes focused among blacks and Hispanics. 

Specifically, the proportion of workers in female-householder families who worked full-time and year-round increased 1.9 percentage points up to 62.4 percent. The increase for blacks in these family types that worked full time increased 4.2 percentage points, while Hispanics went up 3.6 percentage points. 

This rise in the proportion of full time workers resulted in an increase of income and earnings at the household level. The real median income for female households increased 5.8 percent, and the real median earnings increased by 7.6 percent. The proportion of people in female-householder families with incomes over $75,000 increased by 1.9 percentage points from 2017 to 2018. 

“Female householders have 40.8 percent of children under 18 years old in poverty and 48.4 percent of children under 6 years of age in poverty,” as stated in Volume II: Homeownership of the 2019 NAWRB Women Housing Ecosystem Report (WHER). “In terms of gender and racial differences, 15.9 percent of women are below the poverty level compared to 13.3 percent of men.” 

Volume II covers the state of women’s homeownership by analyzing the overall health of the current market, women’s poverty and homelessness, and obstacles women and minorities face in becoming homeowners and renters.  

We would love to hear your input on poverty rates in the U.S. in the comments below!

About 2019 NAWRB WHER

The 2019 NAWRB Women Housing Ecosystem Report (WHER) is the third installment of the most diverse coverage of the Housing Ecosystem with over sixty resources in six volumes: Diversity & Inclusion, Homeownership, Women-Owned Businesses, STEM, Aging Population, and Family Offices with a gender lens perspective. Learn more about each of the volumes and order a copy of the 2019 NAWRB WHER at https://www.nawrb.com/womenhousingecosystem/.

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