Economic Security and Poverty


The significant gender wage gap and women’s concentration in low paid occupations affect the overall economic security of West Virginians. People in this state have low workforce participation and relatively high rates of poverty compared to the US as a whole.

Only half of all West Virginia women 16 years and older are in the workforce compared with 60 percent of WV men and 59 percent of women in the country. This activity rate tends to increase among parents with children. Finally, as in the rest of the country, women are more likely to live in poverty than men.  In 2010, 18 percent of WV adult women and 14 percent of WV adult men were living at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty level.  This rate increases considerably among people whose incomes are at or below 200 percent of the poverty line.