Women's Incomes Are Growing Faster Than Those of Men. (Demographics)

Marketing to Women: Addressing Women and Women's Sensibilities, October 2002 | Go to article overview

Women's Incomes Are Growing Faster Than Those of Men. (Demographics)


Data from the 2000 U.S. Census indicate that while women's median income still ill lags behind men's, it's growing at a faster rate. Women age 45-64 are experiencing the fastest growth in income and have the highest median income among women.

In 2000, 60% of women age 16 or older were in the labor force, up from 57.5% in 1990, according to Census data compiled by New Strategist. Labor force participation is highest among women age 40-49, 79% of whom are in the labor force.

Three quarters (75%) of women who are employed work full-time, and 81% of women age 25-54 work full-time. Women make up 47% of all employed workers and 42% of full-time workers.

In 70% of married couples with children age six or older, both partners work, as do partners in 57% of couples with preschool-age kids. Three quarters of single moms work, as do 69% of single moms with preschool-age kids.

Only 12% of working women belong to unions; women in their late 40s and 50s are most likely to be union members (16% of women age 45-54 and 15% of those age 55-64).

More than 80% of women age 25-54 are projected to be in the labor force by 2010 (see chart on next page).

Women earned 57% of all bachelor's degrees and 58% of all master's degrees in 2000. Two thirds (66%) of female graduating high school seniors enrolled in college in 2000, up from 62% in 1990. By comparison, 60% of male high school seniors enrolled in college in 2000, and 58% enrolled in 1990.

Just over half of women (52%) are currently married, while 23% are divorced or widowed and 25% have never married. More than two in 10 children (22%) live with just their mothers, while 4% live with just their fathers.

The median age for women's first marriages is 25.1 years, the oldest since the Census began recording it. While 73% of women age 20-24 are unmarried, only 39% of 25-29-year-old women are still single. Women age 50-54 are most likely of all women to be divorced; the leading-edge boomer women who make up this age group were among the first to divorce in large numbers (see chart at right).

Women made up 58% of Americans living alone in 2000. Nearly half (48%) of women who live alone are age 65 or older, but sizeable proportions are 45-64 (28%) and under 45 (24%). Married-couple households comprised 53% of overall households in 2000, down from 56% in 1990.

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