The primary reason that so many single women are poor right now is the large number of jobs cut in female-dominated sectors, including government, Entmacher said. In fact, since the recession ended in 2009, women have lost more jobs than men shed while the economy was still contracting.
"I think most people understand that women's income has become increasingly important to the survival of many families," said Entmacher. "In families where that is the only income, a job loss puts them in dire straits."
Moreover, just as a growing number of Americans find themselves in need of help, the social safety net has grown weaker. States have trimmed their welfare rolls, cut back the amount of time that a family can receive cash welfare assistance and even scaled back spending on child support enforcement and collections activity, Entmacher said.