In 2004, the Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley published the first comprehensive study on the economic status of women in the Rochester region using data from to 2000 U.S. Census. This research has been updated using the 2010 U.S. Census data. In addition, the Self-Sufficiency Standard was used to explore income adequacy; that is, the level of income necessary for a given family to adequately meet basic needs. We found that women were disproportionately affected by poverty and income inadequacy.
The recently updated study illustrates that women and children of the Rochester region continue to be disproportionately affected by poverty and income inadequacy. This is especially true for households headed by women who have children under the age of 18.
Poverty is found in all seven counties, ranging from 9% in Ontario County to 15% in Monroe County. Within Monroe County, 33.0% of individuals in the City of Rochester and 8.3% of individuals Monroe County excluding the City of Rochester are living at or below the poverty level.
The burden of poverty falls disproportionately on women. Averaging across the seven counties, the percentage of females in poverty, 14.8%, is higher than that of men, 12.7%
Of all households headed by women in the City of Rochester, 49% are living in poverty and 67% have incomes below the Self-Sufficiency Standard.
Of households headed by women with children under the age of 18 in the City of Rochester, 58% are living in poverty and 78% have incomes below the Self-Sufficiency Standard.
The percent of children living in poverty ranges from 9.8% in Monroe County excluding Rochester to 50.4% in the City of Rochester. The range for the other six counties is 12% in Ontario County to 16% in Genesee County.
The minimum income a family needs for ordinary living costs is far higher than the federal poverty threshold, and also significantly higher than someone working full-time at the minimum wage can earn.
For example, a single-parent family with one infant and one school-age child living in Monroe County needs an income of $45,766 to pay for the basics (housing, food, transportation, health care, child care and ordinary household items). The Federal Poverty threshold for a family of 3 is $18,310 per year. Minimum wage ($7.25/hr) for full-time work is $15,080/yr. (For the 2014 NYS standard ($8/hr) it is $16,640/yr.)
Women working full & part time combined earn from 62% in Livingston County to 73% in Monroe County of what men working full & part time earn.
Median income is lower for women who head households in all counties, compared to men head of households and married couples.
Across the seven counties, 13.8% of individuals were living at or below the poverty threshold in 2010. Only 3.1% were receiving public Temporary Assistance in cash and 12.4% were receiving food stamps.
Presentations of our findings to groups are available. Call 585–242-0940 to request one.