economic equity and justice
Females Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau

What does this measure?

The proportion of females in various racial and ethnic groups with incomes below the poverty line. Poverty thresholds vary by family composition and year. In 2021, the threshold for a four-person family with two children was $27,479.

Why is this important?

The percentage of females in poverty in various racial and ethnic groups is a measure of the overall economic health of these groups and may reflect disparities in access to economic opportunity. It also indicates the level of need for targeted social and government supports.

How is Norfolk County doing?

Norfolk County's rates in 2017-21 were highest among African American (14%) and Hispanic (12%) women, compared to Asian women at 9% and white women at 6%. Since 2000, the rate increased 4 percentage points among African American women and decreased by 2 points for Asian women and 1 point for Hispanic women.

Norfolk County had the lowest rates of poverty among African American, Hispanic and white women compared to Middlesex, Essex and the state as a whole. The County's rate among Asian women was on par with Middlesex and Essex and lower than the state and the nation.

In Brookline and comparison localities, the number of women in each race/ethnicity were generally too small for reliable poverty rate estimates and meaningful comparisons.

Why do these disparities exist?

The effects of sexism and racism across society combine to limit the employment opportunities available to women of color. Women in general are overrepresented in lower-wage professions, consistently paid less than their male counterparts, and more likely to sacrifice work and earnings to care for family members limiting their earning potential. When compounded by affiliation with a racial or ethnic group that has faced historic and systemic exclusion from opportunity, women of color are more likely to live in poverty than white women. Women of color face job discrimination, experience a larger wage gap compared to men, and Black women graduate with more education debt than any other group. As a result, women of color have less savings.

Notes about the data

The multi-year figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with three asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval).

The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Poverty status is not reported for people in institutions, including college dormitories and military barracks, and people in living situations without conventional housing. Data for this indicator are expected to be released in the fourth quarter.

snapshot
Women Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity, 2017-21
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Brookline12%**19%***8%***11%*
Arlington, Middlesex County7%***15%***8%***4%*
Cambridge, Middlesex County17%*28%*19%**9%
Everett, Middlesex County4%***8%***27%***13%*
Newton, Middlesex County6%*8%***10%**5%*
Norfolk County9%14%12%*6%
Essex County9%*19%*22%9%
Middlesex County9%16%19%7%
Massachusetts12%18%25%9%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African




Number of Women Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity, 2017-21
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Brookline716**163***167***2,488*
Arlington, Middlesex County238***120***96***757*
Cambridge, Middlesex County1,529*1,487*808**2,770
Everett, Middlesex County67***256***1,861***1,442*
Newton, Middlesex County381*88***155**1,412*
Norfolk County3,6573,5422,108*16,203
Essex County1,283*3,307*19,84427,603
Middlesex County8,8246,25212,13238,931
Massachusetts28,00246,194105,892225,144

Source: U.S. Census Bureau






INDICATORS TREND
Change in Total Population 1
Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Language Diversity 1
Increasing
Foreign-Born Population 1
Increasing
Population by Age 1
Increasing
People with Disabilities 1
Increasing
Voter Registration -1
Decreasing
Voter Participation 1
Increasing
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Change in Total Jobs 10 Not Applicable*
Unemployment Rate 10 Not Applicable*
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Living Wage 10 Not Applicable*
Median Household Income 0
Maintaining
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Income in Relation to Poverty Level -1
Decreasing
People Living in Poverty 1
Increasing
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
People Living in Poverty by Age -1
Decreasing
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Females Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Seniors Living in Poverty 1
Increasing
Share of Workers who are Professionals by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Access to Financial Services by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Student Performance on Grade 3 English by Student Subgroup 10 Not Applicable*
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group 10 Not Applicable*
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Overall Housing Cost Burden -1
Decreasing
Median Home Value 0
Maintaining
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Cost of Homeownership 1
Increasing
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Cost of Renting 1
Increasing
Cost of Rent by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP 1
Increasing
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Food Insecurity 10 Not Applicable*
Households Without Vehicles 1
Increasing
Means of Transportation to Work by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Protected Land 10 Not Applicable*
Percent of Days with Good Air Quality 10 Not Applicable*
Early Prenatal Care 10 Not Applicable*
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate 10 Not Applicable*
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions 10 Not Applicable*
People 65 or Older Living Alone 1
Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Females Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Share of Workers who are Professionals by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Student Performance on Grade 3 English by Student Subgroup 10 Not Applicable*
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group 10 Not Applicable*
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Cost of Rent by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*



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