Emails, Jennifer Lee, research associate, Center for Public Policy Priorities, Feb. 14, 2014

1:54 p.m.

It is true that Texas has more women living in poverty that almost anywhere else (we’re 2nd behind California). Other relevant info is what’s related to poverty – level of education and how well jobs pay. Even though we’re #2 in absolute numbers of poor women, we are #1 in numbers of women without a high school diploma, and Texas has the highest number of full-time working women who still live in poverty.

 

The trends are also not very good on the job front. The number of women working low-wage jobs is growing. There are over twice the number of women working minimum-wage jobs in Texas than there were 10 years ago. Now, about 10 percent of all women who are paid hourly rates work at or below minimum wage—over the long term, this could lead to an increase in female poverty, reliance on government benefits, or both.

 

I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any follow-up questions.

 

Jennifer

From: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) [mailto:wgselby@statesman.com]

Sent: Friday, February 14, 2014 2:02 PM

To: Jennifer Lee

Subject: RE: Chart

 

Texas is not No. 2 in its share of women in poverty, it appears, which is probably a more reasonable way to compare across states, agree?

 

I also don’t feel like I have the latest statistics. Has the center crunched them? I am referring to the latest one-year ACS results. (A related question: Do we look only at adult women or at all females, in each state?)

 

Finally, of what significance is it that about half the states have about 20 percent or more of women in poverty?

 

g.

From: Jennifer Lee

Sent: Friday, February 14, 2014 3:12 PM

To: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin)

Subject: RE: Chart

 

Yes, that’s correct. When you look at the share of women in poverty, Texas looks better. The absolute numbers are high because Texas is such a populous state.

 

17 percent of adult women in Texas live in poverty (14th highest). Child female poverty is about 26 percent (12th highest) and when you look at females of any age, it’s about 19 percent.

 

Poverty is consistently higher for females than for men across the country. There are a lot of causes of this, but one is that many women work in historically underpaid jobs.  Women who must raise children alone are especially vulnerable. In Texas, half of all families who live in poverty are headed by single mothers. Single parents are almost twice as likely to be women, and a single mom is twice as likely as a single dad to live in poverty.

 

From: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) [mailto:wgselby@statesman.com]

Sent: Friday, February 14, 2014 3:21 PM

To: Jennifer Lee

Subject: RE: Chart

 

Can you tell me how you developed the figures below? Did you build a chart, by chance? From what original sources/data?

 

My sense is the candidate was limiting her claim to adult women.

 

g.

From: Jennifer Lee

Sent: Friday, February 14, 2014 3:33 PM

To: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin)

Subject: RE: Chart

 

I used the ACS 1-year data for 2012, Table B17001: Poverty Status in the Past 12 Months by Sex by Age.

 

For adult women, the candidate’s claim is true partly because Texas has so many women living here period, poor and non-poor. More women live in poverty in Texas than anywhere else except California.

 

If you want to look at the share of adult female poverty, we’re ranked 14th, so that puts Texas in the top third in terms of share of female adults who are poor, but we’re not number 2.