The Economic Status of Texas Women report demonstrates continued need for policies and programs that improve economic security for women and families
DALLAS, May 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Texas Women's Foundation (TXWF) today released The Economic Status of Texas Women report, examining the trends and progress of Texas women in 12 state markets related to poverty, education, employment and earnings. The study provides important data and insights to help inform policies, practices and programs.
The research shows some encouraging progress, such as the growing share of employed women in managerial or professional occupations – up from 39% in previous years to 41.2% today. That lags slightly below the national rate of 42.4% for women in these roles. In Texas, 36.8% of businesses are owned by women, which is above the national average of 35.8% and consistent with Texas being ranked a top state for women entrepreneurs. However, the report highlights key indicators where gender disparities significantly affect Texas women, particularly women of color, in the areas of health insurance, education, poverty and leadership.
"With women representing 50.3% of the Texas population, it is important for all Texans to understand the economics of gender, and how that impacts women, families and our state's economy," said Texas Women's Foundation President and CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson. "We encourage decision-makers, lawmakers and community and business leaders to use this research to address the issues it reveals, and work together to change policies and practices as well as support programs that advance women's economic security. When Texas women and girls are healthy and well-educated, the entire state benefits."
The full reports can be viewed on txwf.org and are grouped by the following areas: Collin, Dallas and Denton Counties; Dallas and Tarrant Counties; Central Texas: Bexar and Travis Counties; Bexar, Dallas and Harris Counties; The Border: El Paso and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission; and West Texas: Amarillo, Lubbock and Midland-Odessa. Below are snapshots of key research findings.
Approximately 30% of women aged 25 and older in Texas have a bachelor's degree or higher; this is less than the national average of 32.6%. Among areas in Texas, Collin County has the highest number of women aged 25 and older with a bachelor's degree or higher (49.1%), whereas the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission market has the lowest number of women with this level of education, just under 19%, which is 14 points below the national average. Educational attainment among Texas women varies widely by race and ethnicity as shown by the following statistics:
- Of the three largest cities in Texas, bachelor degree attainment for Hispanic women is lowest in Dallas County at 10.8%. Dallas also has the lowest degree attainment for Black women at 23.4%.
- In Harris County, 13.8% of Hispanic women and 26.2% of Black women have a bachelor's or advanced degree.
- Bexar County has the highest levels of degree attainment for Hispanic and Black women in these largest cities with 18% and 31% respectively.
A higher level of education can contribute to career advancement and increased earnings, which is why Texas Women's Foundation advocates for policy change, and advances programs and initiatives that lay the groundwork for educational achievement in early childhood. For example, TXWF supports the Texas legislative proposal to boost funding to cover full-day, pre-K programs offered at school districts in partnership with local high-quality early education providers.
In addition to the long-term educational benefits of such programs, full day, pre-K programs greatly reduce child care costs for working mothers and families, contributing to greater economic stability. Currently the average cost of full-day child care for working Texas families is between $7,000 and $9,000 a year per child. Passage of this legislative proposal will serve as a building block for economic security for the next generation of Texas women and support women who are currently focused on work and their education.
Nearly 78% of Texas women aged 18 to 64 have health insurance coverage, which is substantially below the national rate for women (89.2%). The data is more dire in Dallas and Harris counties where only three in four women have health insurance (75.1% and 75.5%, respectively). Conversely, nearly 82% of women in Bexar County are insured. However, Hispanic women in Bexar, Dallas and Harris counties lag, with 77%, 58.1% and 60%, respectively, likely to be insured. Of the geographic areas assessed, the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission market faces the most urgent need, with the lowest number of insured women at just 54.5%.
TXWF advocates for important preventative healthcare programs and policies to support healthy families in Texas. For example, TXWF supports Senate Bill 2132 that proposes to extend postnatal healthcare coverage for Texas mothers. This legislation also aims to improve the information provided to women on Pregnant Women's Medicaid who are auto-enrolled into the Healthy Texas Women (HTW) program managed by the state. TXWF is a member of the Texas Women's Healthcare Coalition, which backs this bill.
About 41% of women in Texas hold managerial or professional occupations compared to the national rate of 42.4%. These roles tend to require a four-year degree and often have higher wages and employment benefits. Notably, Collin County has the highest share of Texas women (54%) in these positions. The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission market has the fewest number of women (31.7%) in these roles. The leadership disparity is even greater for women of color throughout Texas:
- Hispanic women are least likely to hold these positions in all 12 Texas markets examined.
- In Bexar, Dallas and Harris Counties, Hispanic, Black and Asian/Pacific Islander women have a lower rate of employment in managerial or professional occupations as shown in the chart below.
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To accelerate and strengthen the pipeline of women in leadership roles, TXWF offers targeted programs, sponsors community-based initiatives, and supports policies and practices that advance women's leadership.
Employment and earnings
Nearly 58% of women in Texas aged 16 and up are employed. Travis County has the highest labor participation rate among women at 65.8%, whereas the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission market has the lowest rate at 50.7%. Black women have the highest labor force participation rate in most of the 12 markets, ranging from 80.5 % in Denton County to 60.3% in Amarillo (see complete research findings for percentages by market).
Women in Texas ages 16 and older who work full-time, year-round have median annual earnings of $40,000, which is 81.6 cents on the dollar compared with similarly employed men in the state. Women's earnings vary widely by race. In Harris County, for example, White women have the highest earnings at $54,129 annually, with Asian/Pacific Islander women earning $49,641. However, Black women in Harris County earn $36,767, followed by Hispanic women who earn just $26,125.
Nearly 15% of Texas women aged 18 and up live in poverty. El Paso and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission have the highest rates of the 12 Texas markets assessed: More than 20% of El Paso women live in poverty and 28% of McAllen-Edinburg-Mission women also live in poverty, which is double the state poverty rate.
Poverty also varies widely by race and ethnicity across the state. Black and Native American women in Dallas County have the highest poverty rates at 20.2% and 23.6%, respectively. In neighboring Collin County, white women have the lowest poverty rate at 5.3%.
TXWF works to strengthen the economic security of women in Texas through strategic grants, programs and advocacy for policies and practices that improve women's educational attainment, financial capability, earnings and access to critical work supports like child care and healthcare.
Women-owned businesses, which can contribute to higher earning potential for women, provide a promising outlook for Texas women. Nearly 37% of businesses in Texas are owned by women versus the national average of 35.8%. Women in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission market are particularly likely to own businesses, with almost 44% of all small businesses owned by women. The Midland-Odessa market has the lowest number (27.9%) of women-owned businesses.
About Texas Women's Foundation
Texas Women's Foundation, formerly Dallas Women's Foundation, is investing to Transform Texas for Women and Girls, empowering them to build stronger, more equitable communities throughout Texas. One of the world's largest women's funds, it is a trusted leader in advocating for and advancing economic security for Texas women, girls and families, and ensuring women and girls are enabled and supported in taking leadership roles in every sector in the state. With more than $35 million in assets, Texas Women's Foundation raises approximately $9 million a year to underwrite groundbreaking statewide research on issues affecting women and girls – providing decision-makers and lawmakers with critical data to inform policies, practices and programs in the state. Funds also sustain the Foundation's $6 million in annual grants, mission-focused gendered asset investments, and support for innovative programs and solutions to help Texas women and girls thrive. For more information, visit www.txwf.org, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram or donate now.
Texas Women's Foundation (TXWF) produced The Economic Status of Texas Women from data provided by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR).
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SOURCE Texas Women's Foundation