Economic Security and Well-being Index for Women in New York City


For Immediate Release                                                                                                    
April 8, 2013

For New York City’s Four Million Women – It is a Story of Rich and Poor

Wide Economic and Health Disparities Revealed in New York Women’s Foundation Report

Study funded by Grant from Citi Community Development

(NEW YORK, NY.)  In an unprecedented look at the economic, health and well-being of New York City’s four million women and girls, The New York Women’s Foundation today released a report revealing that many women of means live side by side with women who struggle to provide for themselves and more often in trying to support their families.
In a resource-rich environment, such as New York City, poverty is often obscured by pockets of great wealth and prosperity, says Ana Oliveira, President and CEO of The Foundation. “We need useful tools to measure and bring attention to areas where poverty still exists. This index is an important tool to do just that.”
The Economic Security and Well-Being Index for Women in New York City examined the intersections of health, safety, education and economic circumstances in all 59 of the City’s districts across all five boroughs. These measures resulted in a composite index, which provides a unique, single tool to identify economic well-being by area across all key indicators. The Foundation’s research for the report was funded by a $100,000 grant from Citi Community Development in keeping with Citi’s commitment to supporting the economic empowerment of underserved communities and the financial needs of women.
“The findings of the Economic Security and Well-Being Index will inform and influence the public policy debate around fostering change that creates increased opportunity for all women,” said Eileen Auld, Tri-State Director of Citi Community Development.
For women and girls, New York is truly a divided city. The day-to-day realities of women and girls living in the South Bronx compared to those living on the Upper East or West Sides of Manhattan are worlds apart. The index also points out that New York is still a city of immigrants with just over 40% of women identifying themselves in this way.
Understanding the economic significance of women in society, their challenges and their role in the stability of the family and the community are several of the key areas The Foundation looked at in their first community district by community district index of how the City’s women are faring in 2013.
In comparing the five boroughs, the index shows that the Bronx has the highest poverty and least educational attainment among women; Economic disparities are most pronounced in Manhattan; Brooklyn is described as the “new epicenter,” of HIV diagnoses among women; poverty rates of white women are highest on Staten Island; Queens has the most diverse female population while Staten Island, the most ethnically homogenous borough, scored highest in terms of economic security for women.
In issuing this report,” Oliveira added, “we see the urgent need to address economic security net for women and families in our city.  We need to provide educational opportunities and expand workforce development programs that lead to substantive employment.”
Research for the Index was conducted by the Center for Research and Policy in the Public Interest on behalf of The New York Women’s Foundation.  The Index, a composite of eight indicators organized in three major domains:  Economic Security, Health and Safety, and Education, confirms that the economic security and well-being of women and girls in New York City is extremely fragile and closely tied to familial status, race, ethnicity and geography.
Key findings include:

  • Single mothers are among the most economically insecure. Nearly 40 percent of the 300,000 single mother households in New York live in poverty compared to two-parent families with children.
  • Neighborhoods with higher rates of poverty and unemployment among women and girls are likely to have higher rates or crime and violence and have poorer health conditions.
  • Black and Latino women and girls are 25 percent more likely to live in poverty than their white counterparts.
  • In New York City, more than 20,000 young women between the ages of 15-19 become pregnant each year.
  • Out of pocket health costs can cause financial instability for older women. Homelessness among elderly women is on the rise.
  • Infant and maternal mortality is highest among Black and Latino women with the maternal mortality rate rising over the last ten years.
  • In low-income areas, more than 50 percent of women have less than a high school degree and 90 percent have no college education.

The index is part one of a two part series of reports The Foundation is undertaking to take a sharper focus on the lives of women in girls in New York.  Critical to the research is a continued examination of the intersections of health, safety, education and economic circumstances. From the findings, The Foundation looks for ways to break down the barriers that are blocking women from succeeding.
A copy of the full report, executive summary and key findings can be found here.

ABOUT NYWF: The New York Women’s Foundation® is a cross-cultural alliance of women, serving as a voice for women and a force for change. The Foundation grants funds to women-led, community based organizations that promote economic security, health and reproductive rights, and anti-violence and safety for women and families in NYC.
Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Additional information may be found at
Media contacts:
The New York Women’s Foundation:
Gael Black, or (646) 564-5978
Cindy Myers, or (415) 378-0294

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