Women’s poverty—resulting from the gender wage gap, the pink tax and higher medical expenses throughout a woman’s life—is a pervasive crisis preventing women from creating stable living conditions. When you add the possibility of not having a college education or being a single mother the picture becomes all the more bleak.
The Census Bureau reports that in the U.S.
- 29 percent of families headed by women with no husband present are below the poverty level
- 39.2 percent of these households have children below 18 years
- 43.9 percent have children under five
These conditions have serious consequences on women’s lives, as a recent study from RENTCafé and PropertyShark demonstrates. The report analyzed rents and home prices in the 50 largest American cities and discovered:
- single women are priced out of rental housing in all but 2 cities
- the median income of men is on average 35 percent higher than that of women
This poverty and affordability issue is especially visible in thriving markets. For example, in Texas—where home sales and home prices recently hit all-time highs for the second year in a row—16 percent of women ages 18 to 64 live in poverty, compared to 11.5 percent of men in the same age group, according to a recent report. The study also shows:
- 61 percent of families in Texas rely entirely or substantially on women’s incomes
- In Texas, housing costs burden 45 percent of all female-headed families, compared to 31 percent of male-headed families and 20 percent of married-couple families
Poverty dangerously jeopardizes the lives of women and their families. As the Texas study articulates, “High housing costs and housing instability are linked to food insecurity, and diminished health and educational outcomes for children.” This is an issue about gender equality, ending the poverty cycle, and improving the quality of life for future generations. From ending the gender wage gap to increasing affordable housing, there is much that can and needs to be done.