Spotlight: Women and Poverty

Women in Poverty

Note: the sections use a different data source from the dashboard at the bottom. This will be reconciled in the coming days.
Poverty rates are not consistent across racial and ethnic groups, with 13.7% of Hispanic women living in poverty, compared to 4.2% of White Non-Hispanic women. Hispanic and Black or African American women make up a combined 59% of County women living in poverty.
Poverty Rate by Ethnicity
Distribution of Women in Poverty by Ethnicity
Women as Share of Residents in Poverty by Age

Disparities in poverty rates grows rapidly between the ages of 18 and 35 during the primary childbearing years. It spikes again in older years, in part because women make up a larger share of residents overall in the oldest age bracket due to longer lifespans.

Differences by Family Type

Families consisting of a female head of household without a husband present receive a median household income of only $58,500 -- only 40% of the income of the median married-couple family. As a result, 54% of female headed households without a husband present live below the self-sufficiency standard, compared to only 21% of married couple households.


The County's chronic homelessness dashboard reports that women make up 35% of the County's homeless population, with a count of 139 residents. Black or African Americans make up 55% of the count. The highest prevalence among women is in the 50-64 and 35-39 age range, a trend that mirrors men. Women have notably lower rates of homelessness in the 25-34 age range relative to men. While historical data broken down by gender is not readily available, the Washington Metro Council of Government conducts an annual "Point-in-Time" survey that shows a decrease in overall homelessness counts, from 126 homeless residents per 100,000 in 2006 to 94 homeless residents per 100,000 in 2016.

Interactive Poverty Dashboard

Women account for almost two-thirds of the County's residents living in poverty, while the number of women in poverty in Montgomery County increased by nearly 90% over the past decade (2006-2016). To better understand these trends, CountyStat has developed a Poverty & Gender dashboard that provides a deep-dive on the County's poverty data. Use the tabs at the top to browse the different views on the data: (1) overall statistics; (2) the changes over time between 2006 and 2016; (3) the link to family, children, and marital status; and (4) a comparison of the income-to-poverty ratios for a diverse range of groups.