Many Unmarried Women Face Financial Peril
November 12th, 2009
Washington, D.C. — A new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) finds troubling unemployment numbers and a bleak economic picture for unmarried women.
According to the latest unemployment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10.3 percent of unmarried women age 20 and over are unemployed; that’s 3.3 million women. Moreover, for unmarried women who head families, the unemployment rate is 12.6 percent, 2.4 points above the national average. Of all unemployed women workers, 61 percent are unmarried.
“While the nation’s economic turmoil has affected all Americans, the impact on unmarried women has been truly devastating,” said Page Gardner, president and founder of Women’s Voices Women Vote. “With this report, we have now seen a steady stream of research showing that across nearly every economic indicator, from unemployment and poverty to foreclosures and health insurance, unmarried women, and especially single heads of households, are under crushing financial pressures.”
From the report:
Due to unemployment, 276,000 children of single mothers have lost health insurance they received through their mother’s employer-sponsored plan.
Foreclosures have risen for single women, and homeless shelters have seen an increase in the number of families, mostly headed by women.
Poverty rates for unmarried women are usually much higher than for married women (20.8 percent versus 6.2 percent of women 18 and over in 2008, the most recent data available), and poverty rates are likely even higher in 2009 due to growing unemployment.
Unmarried women also have few financial resources: They usually rely on a single income and, as women earn, on average, only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. Their lower household incomes and less savings compared to married couples makes it harder to prepare for a financial emergency like unemployment.