Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 1999 12:08 PM
Facts for Features
A product of the U.S. Census Bureau's Public Information Office
CB99-FF.03 February 23, 1999
Women's History Month: March 1-31
Earnings and Jobs
- Women who were full-time, year-round workers earned 74 cents in
1997 for every dollar earned by men -- a significant improvement over
the 57 cents they received in 1973.
- The percentage of wage and salary recipients who were women increased
from 32 percent in 1947 to 48 percent in 1997.
- Between 1951 and 1997, the proportion of wives who were in the labor
force nearly tripled, from 23 percent to 62 percent.
- With more women in the labor force, there is a greater need for child
care. The nation's employed mothers had 10.3 million children under 5 in
1994; 43 percent of these children received primary care from their
fathers, grandparents or other relatives while 29 percent
were cared for in an organized facility.
- In 1998, 83 percent of the nation's women ages 25 and over had at least
a high school diploma, while 22 percent had earned at least a bachelor's
degree. The proportion with a high school diploma was not significantly
different from that of men, but the percentage with a bachelor's degree
somewhat lower than the 27 percent for men.
- The educational attainment levels in 1998 of women ages 25 to 29
exceeded those of men in the same age group. Ninety percent of young
women had at least a high school diploma and 29 percent had a
bachelor's degree or more. The respective percentages for
young men were 87 percent and 26 percent.
- Women, who made up 55 percent of all college students in 1996, comprised
63 percent of those ages 35 and over.
- Women constitute a rising share of people being awarded college and
postgraduate degrees. In 1995, they represented 55 percent of people
awarded bachelor's degrees, 55 percent of the masters', 39 percent of
the doctorates, 39 percent of the M.D.'s and 43 percent of the law
degrees. As recently as the early 1970s, the respective percentages
were 43 percent, 40 percent, 14 percent, 8 percent and 5 percent.
- Back in 1971, very few of the bachelor's degrees awarded in business and
management (9 percent) went to women. By 1995, the proportion had
increased to 48 percent. Similarly impressive increases occurred over
the period in engineering (from 1 percent to 16 percent) and biological
and life sciences (from 29 percent to 52 percent).
- Among citizens, women were significantly more likely than men to have
voted in the 1996 presidential election (60 percent versus 57 percent). In
1984, women's voting rates in presidential elections surpassed those of
for the first time since the Census Bureau began collecting voting data in
1964. Women's voting rates have been higher than men's ever since.
- On Nov. 1, 1998, there were an estimated 138.2 million women and
girls and 132.7 million men and boys in the United States. At older
ages, women outnumbered men by large margins: 20.2 million to
14.2 million at ages 65 years and over; 2.9 million to 1.2 million at
ages 85 and over; and 51,000 to 11,000 among centenarians.
- Although females outnumber males nationally, there were six states in
1997 where females were in the minority: Alaska, California, Hawaii,
Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming.
- In 1996, the life expectancy for women stood at 79 years; for men, it
was 73 years. Projections for 2010 show life expectancy will be 81 years
and 74 years, respectively.
- In 1995, 58 percent of 15- to 44-year-old women had had children: 18
percent had given birth to one child, 23 percent to two, 11 percent to
and 6 percent to four or more. For those at the end of their childbearing
years (ages 40 to 44), more than 8 in 10 had had children, giving birth to
average of two each.
- Over half (55 percent) of the 3.7 million women with a newborn were in
the labor force in 1995, up from 31 percent in 1976. In 1995, women with
newborns were especially likely to be in the labor force (68 percent)
if they had at least a bachelor's degree.
- More women nowadays are either postponing or not ever having kids.
Twenty-seven percent of women 30 to 34 in 1995 had never given birth; in
1976, the corresponding proportion was 16 percent. The same trend also
holds for women in their late 30s (20 percent were childless in 1995, 11
percent were in 1976) and early 40s (18 percent and 10
Marriage and Family
- In 1998, 58 percent of women 18 years old and over were married, 21
percent had never married and 11 percent each were widowed and divorced.
- The estimated median age at first marriage was 25.0 years for women in
1998 tying the 20th century-high reached the previous year and up almost
a full five years since the early 1960s.
- There were 9.8 million single mothers in 1998, no change from the number
in the previous three years, but up by 6.4 million since 1970. The
total includes those who maintain their own household (7.7 million in
1998), as well as those living in the homes of relatives or others.
Mothers still account for most of the nation's 11.9 million single
- The number of women living alone doubled between 1970 and 1998, from 7.3
million to 15.3 million, or 14 percent of all women 15 years old and
over. Half of the women living alone were elderly; put another way, 41
percent of all elderly women lived by themselves.
- All in all, 30.2 million households in 1998 about 30 percent of the
nation's total were maintained by women with no husband present. In
1970, there were 13.4 million such households, comprising about 20
percent of all households.
Sports and Recreation
- In 1996, the most popular participatory sport for women and girls ages 7
and over was exercise walking: the 47 million who put on their walking
shoes at least six times that year comprised nearly two-thirds of the
- During the 1996-97 school year, 128,000 women took part in National
Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)-sanctioned sports, constituting
4 in 10 participants. The 7,684 NCAA-sanctioned women's teams, however,
virtually equaled the number of men's teams. Outdoor track had the most
female athletes, basketball the most women's teams.
- The number of women-owned businesses in the United States reached 6.4
million in 1992, comprising 33 percent of all domestic firms. Women-
owned businesses generated $1.6 trillion in revenues and employed 13.2
million people. <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/cb96-07.html>
- Women-owned businesses hire proportionately more women. In 1992, 35
percent of women-owned employer firms reported 75 percent or more of
their work force was female, compared with less than 24 percent of the
nonminority male-owned firms.
The preceding facts come from the Current Population Survey, population
estimates, the Survey of
Income and Program Participation, the Survey of Women-Owned Businesses, the
Business Owners Survey and the Statistical Abstract of the United States.
The data are subject to
sampling variability and other sources of error. Previous Facts for Features
in 1999: African American History
Month (February) and Valentine's Day (February 14). Questions or comments
should be directed to the
Census Bureau's Public Information Office (Tel: 301-457-3030; Fax: