New Data Shows Female-Headed Households See Higher Levels of Poverty, Hunger

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Women, particularly single mothers, are disproportionately affected by
poverty and hunger, according to a new analysis, Hunger
and Poverty among Female-Headed Households
, released today by the
Bread for the World Institute.

“Female-headed households make up just over half of American low-income
households with children,” said Asma Lateef, director of Bread for the
World Institute. “Single mothers and their children have higher rates of
hunger and poverty than other families. Two factors that contribute to
higher poverty rates among women are the gender wage gap and job
segregation by gender.”

Thirty percent of all households headed by a single mother live in
poverty, compared to 14 percent of all U.S. households. There are 4.7
million low-income households headed by a single mother.

Women of color face an even greater wage gap and are more likely to hold
jobs that do not offer benefits. According to the U.S. Census,
households headed by single African-American and Latina women are at far
higher risk of poverty and hunger than other U.S. households.

Women make up the majority of workers in the 10 low-wage occupations
with the most employees. Women with a high school diploma or less are
paid only 76 cents for every dollar paid to men with the same level of
education. Low-wage jobs are also less likely to provide health
insurance for employees, leaving women and their children without access
to essential healthcare services.

Closing the gender wage gap would cut poverty in half among working
women. “If we expect to reduce poverty and hunger among women and
children, we have to tackle the wage gap and the concentration of women
in low-wage jobs,” Lateef said.

Download Hunger and Poverty among Female-Headed Households here.

Bread for the World (
is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to
end hunger at home and abroad.


Bread for the World
Esteban Garcia, 202-688-1138
Ford, 202-688-1077