The average American woman is 5’4″. She weighs 160 pounds. We’ve all heard that statistic before. But what else can we gather about the average woman? Not much, honestly ““ finding averages, as opposed to medians or majorities, is a tricky business. How exactly do you average something like education, when there are hard and fast categories (high school diploma, trade school, associates, etc)? What does it mean to have 2.3 children? So instead, let’s think about which characteristics are shared by the majority of women.
One note: many of these numbers come from the 2000 census and may be out of date thanks to the economic recession.
Most women have at least some college (anywhere from a couple credits to a full blown bachelor’s degree), but women who finish after high school are still a large chunk of the population. In the population of people 25 and over, looking at raw numbers and not percentages, more women than men have bachelor’s degrees, and more women than men have master’s degrees, but twice as many men than women have PhDs and professional degrees. The percent of women who have a bachelor’s degree increases with each generation (only 23.7% of women 45-64 years of age have a BA or BS, but 29.4% of women 25-34 do). The trend is reversed for men.
When taking education and skills into account, the average American woman is bringing home 80% of her male counterpart’s paycheck. That’s if she’s white: women of color face an even greater wage gap when compared to white men.
42% of women are not in the labor force (meaning that 42% of women do not have jobs and are not actively looking for jobs). Only 29.3% of men are not in the labor force. So while most women are employed and in the labor force, there is still a disparity between men and women on this front.
Most employed women are employed in “sales and office occupations“ ““ but they’re much more likely to be office and administrative support than salespeople (unlike men, who see the reverse). After that, the next biggest employment group is “management, professional, and related occupations.” Out of this group, women are seen in biggest numbers in “education, training, and library occupations.” Most men in this group are either engineers or in “computer and mathematical occupations.”
Most women are currently married, but at only 52% of all adult women being currently married, it’s a just-barely type of scenario.
While most women have not have had an abortion, it is estimated that a little over a third of women in the U.S. will have an abortion by the time they’re 45 (some figures put the number as high as 40%, but their assumptions are definitely flawed). Most women who have abortions are between 20 and 24, most are unmarried, and most have some college.