Women's Financial Statistics

Guest blog by H. B. Johnson

In 1981, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution establishing National Women's History Week. The week was chosen to coincide with International Women's Day, March 8. In 1987, Congress expanded the week to a month, and it has issued a resolution every year since then for Women's History Month. The U.S. president also issues an annual proclamation on Women's History Month. As last year's presidential proclamation stated, "Women's History
Month provides our country the privilege of honoring the countless contributions that American women have made throughout our history."


The median annual earnings of women age 15 and older who worked full time, year-round. After adjusting for inflation, earnings for these women climbed 3.5 percent in 2001, the fifth consecutive increase. In contrast, earnings for their male counterparts did not change significantly over that period.    <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2002/cb02-124.html> 
76 cents
For every $1 their male counterparts earn, that is the amount women earn who work full time, year-round. This ratio represents an all-time high, eclipsing the previous high of 74 cents for every $1, first recorded in 1996. <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2002/cb02-124.html>

$2.9 million
Estimated work-life earnings of women with a professional degree (i.e., medical, law, dental or veterinarian) who work full time, year-round. For women, like men, more education means higher career earnings: it is estimated that those without a high school diploma would earn $700,000 during their work lives, increasing to $1.0 million if they have a high school diploma and $1.6 million with a bachelor's degree. <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2002/cb02-95.html>


The percentage of women age 25 and over with at least a high school diploma, slightly higher than the percentage for men. (From soon-to-be-published Internet tables.)

-- The gap between men and women with college degrees has not closed completely, but the percentages are close: 25 percent of women age 25 and over have a bachelor's degree or higher compared with 29 percent of men. (From soon-to-be-published Internet tables.)

-- Younger women have gone beyond closing the education gap. They have opened a reverse gap: 33 percent of young women, ages 25 to 34, have completed college, which exceeds the 29 percent of their male counterparts who have done so. Young women, 25 to 34, also have higher high school completion rates than young men: 89 percent versus 85 percent. (From soon-to-be-published Internet tables.)

The percentage of college students who are women. Women have constituted the majority of college students since 1979. <http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet>

In each year since this year, more American women than men have received bachelor's degrees. <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2002/cb02-95.html>


The percentage of women age 16 and over in the civilian labor force. The percentage for men is 70 percent. <http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet>

Labor force participation rates for women age 16 and over vary greatly by state, ranging from 66 percent in Minnesota to 48 percent in West Virginia. <http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet>

Among the 71 million women at least 16 years old who work, the percentage who work full time, year-round. More than 9-in-10 employed, civilian women age 16 and over work in one of three occupational groups: sales and office (37 percent); management, professional and related (36 percent); and service (18 percent). <http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet>


Percentage of women, age 18 and over and citizens, who cast a ballot in the last presidential election. This compares with 58 percent of their male counterparts. Among all voting-age people, women have voted at higher rates than men in every presidential election since 1984. <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2002/cb02-31.html>

Women in the Military

1.6 million
Number of women who are military veterans; another 164,000 currently serve in the armed forces. <http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet>


The average number of children currently born to women 40- to 44-years-old by the end of their childbearing years. This average is one child fewer than the average for women in this same age group in 1980 (3.0 children). <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2001/cb01-170.html>

The percentage of mothers in the labor force who have infant children, down from a record 59 percent in 1998. This marks the first significant decline in this rate since the Census Bureau began asking the question in 1976. In that year, 31 percent of these mothers were in the labor force. <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2001/cb01-170.html>

Among mothers ages 15 to 44 who do not have infants, 74 percent are in the labor force. <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2001/cb01-170.html>

The proportion of all women, ages 40 to 44, who are childless. That is almost twice as high as women of the same age group in 1980 (10 percent). <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2001/cb01-170.html>

Marriage and Family

25.1 years
The median age of women at the time of their first marriage. The median in 1970 was 20.8 years. Women, on average, are 1.7 years younger than men the first time they marry. <

-- Fifty-five percent of women are currently married (including those married to an absent spouse and those who are separated); 25 percent have never married; and 10 percent each are divorced and widowed. 

The percentage of wives who earn at least $5,000 more than their husband. In unmarried-partner households, that proportion is 22 percent. <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2001/cb01-113.html>

The percentage of wives who live in married-couple households and have higher levels of education than their husbands. In unmarried-partner households, that proportion is 28 percent. <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2001/cb01-113.html>

10 million
The number of single mothers, up from 3 million in 1970. About 26 percent of all parent-child situation consist of a single mother and her own child or children, up from 12 percent in 1970. <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2001/cb01-113.html>

30.7 million
The number of households ? about 3 in 10 ? maintained by women with no husband present. <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2001/cb01-113.html>

Population Distribution

145.0 million
The number of females as of July 1, 2001. That exceeds the number of males, who numbered 139.8 million. Males outnumber females in every age group through ages 30 to 34. Starting with 35- to 39-year-olds, women outnumber men. At 85 and over, there are more than twice as many women as men. <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2003/cb03-16.html>