More than one in seven American women lived in poverty last year, according to the latest data from the Census Bureau.
Overall, the poverty rate in the U.S. declined by a statistically insignificant 0.5 percent from 2012 to 14.5 percent in 2013. About 18 million women, or 14.5 percent of the population, lived in poverty in 2013, about the same as in 2012 and the highest rate in two decades. The poverty rate for men last year was 11 percent, also unchanged from 2012 and though higher than it was before the start of the recession, it's still lower than women's record-low poverty rate of 11.5 percent in 2000.
"The data reflect a grim reality for millions of women and their families, despite a welcome decline in the overall poverty rate," Joan Entmacher, vice president for Family Economic Security at the National Women's Law Center, said in a statement Tuesday.
The government measures the poverty line at $23,800 annually for a family of four, $15,730 for a family of two or $11,670 for one person.
Poverty rates were particularly high for women who head families -- at nearly 40 percent. About 25 percent of black women lived in poverty last year, 23 percent of Hispanic women and 19 percent of women over 65 and living alone, the Census Bureau said.
On the bright side, fewer children lived in poverty last year, at 20 percent compared to 21.8 percent in 2012, with more than half of those children living in female-headed households.