Profile of Women in the United States in 2000

Group of women training to be US Marines
Women Train to Become U.S. Marines. Scott Olsen / Getty Images

In March 2001, the U.S. Census Bureau observed Women's History Month by releasing a detailed set of statistics on women in the United States. The data came from the 2000 Decennial Census, the Current Population Survey of the year 2000, and the year 2000 Statistical Abstract of the United States.

Education Equality

84% The percentage of women age 25 and over with a high school diploma or more, which equals the percentage for men. The college degree attainment gap between the sexes had not closed completely, but it was closing. In 2000, 24% of women age 25 and over had a bachelor's degree or higher, compared with 28% of men.

30% The percentage of young women, ages 25 to 29, who had completed college as of 2000, which exceeded the 28% of their male counterparts who had done so. Young women also had higher high school completion rates than young men: 89% versus 87%.

56% The proportion of all college students in 1998 who were women. By2015, the U.S. Department of Education reported that more women than men were completing college.

57% The proportion of masters' degrees awarded to women in 1997. Women also represented 56% of the people awarded bachelor's degrees, 44% of the law degrees, 41% of the medical degrees and 41% of the doctorates.

49% The percentage of bachelor's degrees awarded in business and management in 1997 that went to women. Women also received 54% of the biological and life sciences degrees.

But Income Inequality Remains 

In 1998, the median yearly earnings of women 25 years and over who worked fulltime, year-round was $26,711, or just 73% of the $36,679 earned by their male counterparts.

While both men and women with college degrees realize higher lifetime earnings, men working fulltime, year-round consistently earned more than comparable women in each of the education levels:

  • The median earnings of women with a high school diploma were $21,963, compared with $30,868 for their male counterparts.
  • The median earnings of women with a bachelor’s degree were $35,408, compared with $49,982 for their male counterparts.
  • The median earnings of women with a professional degree was $55,460, compared with $90,653 for their male counterparts.

Earnings, Income, and Poverty

$26,324 The 1999 median earnings of women working full-time, year-round. In March 2015, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that while the gap was closing, women still made less than men doing similar work.

4.9% The increase between 1998 and 1999 in the median income of family households maintained by women with no spouse present ($24,932 to $26,164).

27.8% The record-low poverty rate in 1999 for families made up of a female householder with no husband present.


61% The percentage of women age 16 and over in the civilian labor force in March 2000. The percentage for men was 74%.

57% The percentage of the 70 million women age 15 and over who worked at some point in 1999 that were full-time year-round workers.

72% The percentage of women age 16 and over in 2000 who worked in one of four occupational groups: administrative support, including clerical (24%); professional specialty (18%); service workers, except private household (16%); and executive, administrative and managerial (14%).

Population Distribution

106.7 million The estimated number of women age 18 and over living in the United States as of Nov. 1, 2000. The number of men 18 and over was 98.9 million. Women outnumbered men in every age group, from ages 25 and over and up. There were 141.1 million females of all ages.

80 years The projected life expectancy for women in 2000, which was higher than the life expectancy for men (74 years.).


59% The record-high percentage of women with infants under the age of 1 in 1998 who were in the labor force, almost double the 31% rate of 1976. This compares with 73% of mothers ages 15 to 44 in the labor force that same year who did not have infants.

51% The 1998 percentage of married-couple families with children in which both spouses worked. This is the first time since the Census Bureau started recording fertility information that these families were the majority of all married-couple families. The rate in 1976 was 33%.

1.9 The average number of children women 40 to 44 years old in 1998 had by the end of their childbearing years. This contrasts sharply with women in 1976, who averaged 3.1 births.

19% The proportion of all women ages 40 to 44 who were childless in 1998, up from 10 percent in 1976. During the same time, those with four or more children declined from 36 percent to 10 percent.

Marriage and Family

51% The percentage of women 15 years old and over in 2000 who were married and living with their spouse. Of the rest, 25 percent had never married, 10%t were divorced, 2% were separated and 10 percent were widowed.

25.0 years The median age at first marriage for women in 1998, more than four years older than the 20.8 years just a generation ago (1970).

22% The proportion in 1998 of 30- to 34-year-old women who had never married triple the rate in 1970 (6 percent). Similarly, the proportion of never-married women increased from 5 percent to 14 percent for 35-to-39-year-olds over the period.

15.3 million The number of women living alone in 1998, double the number in 1970 7.3 million.The percentage of women who lived alone rose for almost every age group. The exception was those aged 65 to 74, where the percentage was statistically unchanged.

9.8 million The number of single mothers in 1998, an increase of 6.4 million since 1970.

30.2 million The number of households in 1998 about 3 in 10 maintained by women with no husband present. In 1970, there were 13.4 million such households, about 2 in 10.

Sports and Recreation

135,000 The number of women taking part in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)-sanctioned sports during the 1997-98 school year; women constituted 4 in 10 participants in NCAA-sanctioned sports. The 7,859 NCAA-sanctioned women's teams exceeded the number of men's teams. Soccer had the most female athletes; basketball, the most women's teams.

2.7 million The number of girls taking part in high school athletic programs during the 1998-99 school year triple the number in 1972-73. Participation levels by boys remained about the same during this time frame, about 3.8 million in 1998-99.

Computer Use

70% The percentage of women with access to a computer at home in 1997 who used it; the rate for men was 72%. The home computer-use "gender gap" between men and women has shrunk considerably since 1984 when men's home computer use was 20 percentage points higher than that of women.

57% The percentage of women who used a computer on the job in 1997, 13 percentage points higher than the percentage of men who did so.


46% Among citizens, the percentage of women who voted in the 1998 mid-term congressional elections; that was better than the 45% of men who cast their ballots. This continued a trend that had started in 1986.

The preceding facts came from the 2000 Current Population Survey, population estimates, and the 2000 Statistical Abstract of the United States. The data are subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. 

Record Number of Women Now Serving in Congress     

One of the greatest advances in the importance of women in American life since 2000, has been in the national political arena. In 2021, women make up just over 25% of all members of the 117th Congress—the highest percentage in U.S. history—with the bulk of the increase coming since 2010.

Counting both the House of Representatives and the Senate, 144 of 539 seats – or 27% – are held by women. That represents a 50% increase from the 96 women who were serving in the 112th Congress a decade ago. A record 120 women are currently serving in the House, about 27% of the total. Women hold 24 of 100 seats in the Senate.

The first woman in Congress, Jeannette Rankin of Montana, was elected to the House in 1916, just two years after Montana gave women the right to vote. However, it has only been during the last few decades that women have been elected in more substantial numbers. For example, about two-thirds of the women ever elected to the House have been elected since 1992.

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Your Citation
Longley, Robert. "Profile of Women in the United States in 2000." ThoughtCo, Mar. 3, 2021, Longley, Robert. (2021, March 3). Profile of Women in the United States in 2000. Retrieved from Longley, Robert. "Profile of Women in the United States in 2000." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 8, 2023).