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Poverty Rate Among U.S. Women Now the Highest Ever Recorded; Child Poverty Rates Also Catastrophic

Written by Featured Organization on 16 September 2011.

I realize that women are a discrete special interest group as they only represent half the population. But this seems like something even the people who count should be concerned with: The poverty rate among women climbed to 14.5 percent in 2010 from 13.9 percent in 2009, the highest in 17 years. The extreme poverty rate among women climbed to 6.3 percent in 2010 from 5.9 percent in 2009, the highest rate ever recorded. Over 17 million women lived in poverty in 2010, including more than 7.5 million in extreme poverty; extreme poverty means income below half the federal poverty line.In addition, the percentage of women under 65 without health insurance increased from 19.2 percent in 2009 to 19.7 percent in 2010, the highest rate recorded in more than a decade.“Behind today’s grim statistics are real people who are finding it harder than ever to keep a roof over their heads, feed their families, get the health care they need and give their children a chance at a better life,” said Joan Entmacher, NWLC Vice President for Family Economic Security.The numbers are all bad but this was particularly startling: Among women who head families, 4 in 10 (40.7 percent) lived in poverty (up from 38.5 percent in 2009). The child poverty rate, already high at 20.7 percent in 2009, jumped to 22.0 percent last year. More than half of poor children lived in female-headed families in 2010. And we haven’t even gotten to the real tough love yet. Remember the new It Boy, Governor Chris Christie’s prescription for what ails us: “This is not hard. We spend too much. We borrow too much. We tax too much. It is time to turn those three things around. Now, pain will be inflicted when we change that. People are going to do with less. People who are used to having entitlement at a certain level will not have them at that level anymore. That’s the story.” I’m sure those poor children will all be the better for it too.

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