1. News & Issues

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Women in the U.S. - 1999-2000

Profiles of women in year 2000 released by US Census Bureau
 Join the Discussion
"Share your opinions on a host of government issues"
Click Here to Take Part

"Debate the Gun Control Issue here."
Click Here to Take Part

  Related Resources
• Women in Congress
• Census Apportionment Figures
• Women in US Farming
 From Other Guides
• Women in Politics
• Women & Political Power
• Legislative Issues
• Women's History Month
 Elsewhere on the Web
• Census 2000 - Fast Facts
• Census: Gender-based Reports

The US Census Bureau observed Women's History Month - March 2001 - by releasing this set of statistics on women in the United States. The figures are for the years 1999-2000, but are not taken from Census 2000, data from which is scheduled for release over the next three years. The data is taken from the Current Population Survey, year 2000 population estimates and the Statistical Abstract of the United States.

Data reported focuses on the following areas:


84% The percentage of women age 25 and over with a high school diploma or more, which equals the percentage for men. The college degree attainment gap between the sexes has not closed completely, but it is closing. In 2000, 24 percent of women age 25 and over had a bachelor's degree or higher, compared with 28 percent of men. 

30% The percentage of young women, ages 25 to 29, who have completed college as of 2000, which exceeds the 28 percent of their male counterparts who have done so. Young women also had higher high school completion rates than young men: 89 percent versus 87 percent. 

56% The proportion of all college students in 1998 who were women. Women have represented the majority of college students since 1979. 

57% The proportion of masters' degrees awarded to women in 1997. Women also represented 56 percent of the people awarded bachelor's degrees, 44 percent of the law degrees, 41 percent of the medical degrees and 41 percent of the doctorates. 

49% The percentage of bachelor's degrees awarded in business and management in 1997 that went to women. Women also received 54 percent of the biological and life sciences degrees.

Earnings, Income and Poverty

$26,324 The 1999 median earnings of women working full-time, year-round. 

4.9% The increase between 1998 and 1999 in the median income of family households maintained by women with no spouse present ($24,932 to $26,164). 

27.8% The record-low poverty rate in 1999 for families made up of a female householder with no husband present. 


61% The percentage of women age 16 and over in the civilian labor force in March 2000. The percentage for men was 74 percent. 

57% The percentage of the 70 million women age 15 and over who worked at some point in 1999 that were full-time year-round workers. 

72% The percentage of women age 16 and over in 2000 who worked in one of four occupational groups: administrative support, including clerical (24 percent); professional specialty (18 percent); service workers, except private household (16 percent); and executive, administrative and managerial (14 percent). 

Population Distribution

106.7 million The estimated number of women age 18 and over living in the United States as of Nov. 1, 2000. The number of men 18 and over was 98.9 million. Women outnumbered men in every age group, from ages 25 and over and up. There were 141.1 million females of all ages. 

80 years The projected life expectancy for women in 2000, which was higher than the life expectancy for men (74 years.) 


59% The record-high percentage of women with infants under the age of 1 in 1998 who were in the labor force, almost double the 31 percent rate of 1976. This compares with 73 percent of mothers ages 15 to 44 in the labor force that same year who did not have infants. 

51% The 1998 percentage of married-couple families with children in which both spouses worked. This is the first time since the Census Bureau started recording fertility information that these families were the majority of all married-couple families. The rate in 1976 was 33 percent. 

1.9 The average number of children women 40 to 44 years old in 1998 had by the end of their childbearing years. This contrasts sharply with women in 1976, who averaged 3.1 births. 

19% The proportion of all women ages 40 to 44 who were childless in 1998, up from 10 percent in 1976. During the same time, those with four or more children declined from 36 percent to 10 percent. 

Marriage and Family

51% The percentage of women 15 years old and over in 2000 who were married and living with their spouse. Of the rest, 25 percent had never married, 10 percent were divorced, 2 percent were separated and 10 percent were widowed. 

25.0 years The median age at first marriage for women in 1998, more than four years older than the 20.8 years just a generation ago (1970). 

22% The proportion in 1998 of 30- to 34-year-old women who had never married triple the rate in 1970 (6 percent). Similarly, the proportion of never-married women increased from 5 percent to 14 percent for 35-to-39 year olds over the period. 

15.3 million The number of women living alone in 1998, double the number in 1970 7.3 million. 

9.8 million The number of single mothers in 1998, an increase of 6.4 million since 1970. 

30.2 million The number of households in 1998 about 3 in 10 maintained by women with no husband present. In 1970, there were 13.4 million such households, about 2 in 10. 

Sports and Recreation

135,000 The number of women taking part in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)-sanctioned sports during the 1997-98 school year; women constituted 4 in 10 participants in NCAA-sanctioned sports. The 7,859 NCAA-sanctioned women's teams exceeded the number of men's teams. Soccer had the most female athletes; basketball, the most women's teams. 

2.7 million The number of girls taking part in high school athletic programs during the 1998-99 school year, triple the number in 1972-73. Participation levels by boys remained about the same during this time frame, about 3.8 million in 1998-99. 

Computer Use

70% The percentage of women with access to a computer at home in 1997 who used it; the rate for men was 72 percent. The home computer-use "gender gap" between men and women has shrunk considerably since 1984, when men's home computer use was 20 percentage points higher than that of women. 

57% The percentage of women who used a computer on the job in 1997, 13 percentage points higher than the percentage of men who did so. 


46% Among citizens, the percentage of women who voted in the 1998 congressional election; that was better than the 45 percent of men who cast their ballots. This continued a trend that started in 1986. 

The preceding facts come from the Current Population Survey, population estimates and the Statistical Abstract of the United States. The data are subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Previous Census Bureau Facts for Features this year: African American History Month (February) and Valentine's Day (Feb. 14). Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau's Public Information Office (Tel: 301-457-3030; Fax: 301-457-3670; E-mail: pio@census.gov).


Subscribe to the Newsletter


©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.