Bureau of Labor Statistics

Poverty rate still higher for working women

March 26, 2001

Although the poverty rates for working men and working women both fell in 1999, the rate for women was still higher than the rate for men.

Poverty rate by sex, race, and Hispanic origin, persons in labor force for 27 weeks or more, 1999
[Chart data—TXT]

The poverty rate for working women was 5.9 percent in 1999, down from 6.3 percent in 1998. For working men, the rate was 4.4 percent in 1999, compared with 4.7 percent in 1998.

Of black working women, 13.6 percent lived below the poverty level in 1999, compared with 6.2 percent of black working men. The difference between the rates for white women and men was much smaller—4.6 percent of white working women were among the working poor, compared with 4.1 percent of white working men.

In addition, among Hispanic workers, there was not much difference between the poverty rates for women and men. In 1999, 10.5 percent of Hispanic working women and 10.9 percent of Hispanic working men lived below the poverty level.

Note that poverty status is defined in terms of family unit. The earnings of others in the family and the presence of dependents are important factors in a person's poverty status.

These data on poverty rates are from the Current Population Survey. The above figures are for individuals who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force in 1999. Find out more in "A Profile of the Working Poor, 1999," BLS Report 947 (HTML) (PDF 60K).


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Poverty rate still higher for working women at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2001/mar/wk4/art01.htm (visited December 05, 2021).


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