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Household Composition

Narrative

In 2011, 48.5 percent of women aged 18 years and older were married and living with a spouse; this includes married couples living with other people, such as parents. About 13 percent of women over age 18 were the heads of their households, meaning that they have children or other family members, but no spouse, living with them. Women who are heads of households include single mothers, single women with a parent or other close relative living in their home, and women with other household compositions. More than 17 percent of women lived alone, 15.5 percent lived with relatives, and 5.5 percent lived with non-relatives.

Household composition varies significantly by age. Young women aged 18–24 years were most likely to be living with relatives (59.7 percent) and with non-relatives (12.1 percent). About 60 percent of women aged 35–44 and 45–64 were living with a spouse. Being a head of household with no spouse present was most common among women between the ages of 25 and 44. Older women, aged 65 and above, were most likely to be living alone (37.3 percent) with another 43.5 percent living with a spouse.

In 2011, non-Hispanic Black women were most likely to be single heads of households with family members present (27.5 percent), while non-Hispanic Asian and non-Hispanic White women were least likely (7.5 and 9.4 percent, respectively). Over 30 percent of female single heads of households with family members had household incomes below the poverty level (find more information on Women in Poverty).

Same-sex couples accounted for 646,464 households in 2010, representing an 80.4 percent increase since the 2000 Census.1 However, same-sex couples still account for fewer than 1 percent of all households (0.6 percent). Female couples comprised 51.5 percent of same-sex households.2 Almost one-quarter of female same-sex couple households contained children (23.9 percent) compared to 10.0 percent of male same-sex couple households and about 40 percent of opposite-sex couple households (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).1,2

1 Lofquist D, Lugaila T, O'Connell M and Feliz S. Households and Families: 2010. U.S. Census Bureau, April 2012.

2 U.S. Census Bureau. Same-Sex Couple Household Statistics from the 2010 Census – Supplemental Tables. Accessed 11/15/12.

Graphs

Data

Women Aged 18 and Older,* by Age and Household Composition, 2011
Age group Percent of Women
Married, Spouse Present Head of Household, No Spouse Present Living Alone Living with Relatives Living with Non-Relatives
*Includes the civilian, non-institutionalized population. Percentages may not equal 100 due to rounding. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, March 2011 Supplement. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology and Statistics Program.
Total 48.5 12.9 17.6 15.5 5.5
18-24 years 9.4 9.2 9.6 59.7 12.1
25-34 years 46.5 16.5 12.3 14.5 10.3
35-44 years 61.0 18.1 8.2 8.1 4.6
45-64 years 60.3 12.2 16.8 7.2 3.6
65 years and older 43.5 8.5 37.3 9.4 1.3

Women Aged 18 and Older Who Are Heads of Households with Family Members,* by Race/Ethnicity, 2011

Percent of Women:

  • Non-Hispanic White: 9.4
  • Non-Hispanic Black: 27.5
  • Hispanic: 17.8
  • Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native: 20.1
  • Non-Hispanic Asian: 7.5
  • Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander: 12.1
  • Non-Hispanic Multiple Race: 16.2

*Includes the civilian, non-institutionalized population; includes those who are heads of households and have children or other family members, but no spouse, living in a house that they own or rent.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, March 2011 Supplement. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology and Statistics Program.