Overall, women experience higher poverty rates than men. In 2012, 14.5 percent of women, 17.8 million women, and 11 percent of men lived in poverty. Thanks in large part to Medicare and Social Security, a somewhat smaller percentage (11 percent) of women over 65 live in poverty. However, the percentage is far higher for women living alone, 18.9 percent are poor. Under the federal definition of poverty, a single person over 65 earning $11,011 or less is poor.
A report by the National Women’s Law Center shows the high prevalence of women over the age of 65 living in poverty. Insecure and Unequal: Poverty Among Women and Families 2000-2012 reveals that income inequality between men and women is profound, particularly so for men and women over 65. In 2012, twice as many women (2.6 million) as men (1.3 million) over 65 live in poverty.
And women of color, women heads of families and women over 65 living alone experience even greater poverty rates than white women. About one in four African American (25.1%) and Hispanic (24.8%) women live in poverty.