Unmarried women can have an enormous influence on American politics, election outcomes and policy debates—when they register, turn out and act on their values.

Unmarried Women and Poverty

Single women are having a harder time making ends meet than married women in America. Over the next several weeks, we’re going to document the different economic realities that define the lives and needs of the one out of every two U.S. women who are widowed, divorced, separated or have never been married. Our goal is to use data from the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor, and other sources to make the case for a policy agenda that speaks to and improves the lives of half of all American women.

More than one in five unmarried women (22.7 percent) live in poverty. Single women are more than three times as likely than married women (6.3 percent) or married men (6.3 percent) to live in poverty.

2014 Population and Poverty Rates for U.S. Women, by Marital Status

Marital Status Total # in Poverty % in Poverty
Married, Spouse Present 62,219,000 3,910,000 6.3%
Widowed 11,333,000 2,013,000 17.8%
Divorced 14,861,000 3,227,000 21.7%
Separated 3,103,000 1,056,000 34.0%
Never Married 31,871,000 7,610,000 23.9%
 

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