Why Has Poverty Declined for Widows?

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The brief’s key findings are:

  • Since the mid-1990s, the poverty rate for widows has dropped sharply.
  • Potential reasons include rising levels of education and work experience for women generally and a higher marriage rate among women with more education.
  • The findings show that, so far, the drop in widows’ poverty has primarily been driven by the general increase in women’s education and work experience.
  • Going forward, the poverty rate should continue to fall not only because of education and work patterns but also because of marriage selection.
  • Despite the progress, widows will remain at greater risk of poverty than married women.