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Natural Awakenings

American Woman: New Report on Our Social and Economic Well-Being

Apr 15, 2011 11:36AM

The recently released Women in America report, the first since 1963, compiles a comprehensive baseline picture of how women are faring in the United States today and over time. The idea is that a better understanding of women’s social and economic well-being will help generate ideas to win everyone an improved future.

Here’s a selected snapshot of the current findings: Women are marrying later and having fewer children than in the past; an ever-growing number are raising children without a spouse. A greater proportion of both today’s women and men have never married. Women’s gains in educational attainment have outpaced those of men over the past 40 years, including in high school degrees, college and graduate degrees, and continuing education.

Following dramatic gains through the mid-1990s, women’s participation in the workforce has remained constant, but they are still less likely than men to work in the paid labor force and more likely to work part-time. Women continue to spend more time than men caring for the household and other family members, as well as volunteering. Women typically still earn less than men, in part because of their concentration in lower-paying and traditionally female occupations. Overall, women are more likely to live in poverty than adult men.

Life expectancy has risen for both genders, and women continue to live longer than men. However, women are also less likely to be physically active, more likely to be obese, and disproportionately more likely than men to be affected by mobility impairments, asthma, arthritis and depression. While women generally use the health care system and preventive care more than men, many still do not receive basic recommended preventive care. One out of seven women has no regular source of health care, while the share of both adult women and men without health insurance has increased over time.

Collating Sources: Office of Management and Budget; U.S. Department of Commerce

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