There are many types of family structures, including a married couple living with their children; an unmarried
couple living with one or more children; a household with children headed by only one parent, usually a woman;
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a household with two adults and no children; and a household with only one adult living alone. Across the nation,
poverty rates differ from one type of family structure to another.
Not surprisingly, poverty rates are higher in families with one adult than in those with two adults (because they
often are bringing in two incomes), and, in one-adult families, they are higher in families headed by a woman than
in those headed by a man (because women generally have lower incomes than men). Of all families headed by
just a woman, 31.6 percent live in poverty, compared to only 15.8 percent of families headed by just a man. In
contrast, only 6.2 percent of families headed by a married couple live in poverty ( “Family Structure
and Poverty Rate (Percentage of Each Type of Structure That Lives in Poverty)”). The figure for female-headed
families provides additional evidence for the feminization of poverty concept introduced earlier.