A National Women's Law Center analyst was surprised to find that there are 135,000 more elderly woman in extreme poverty from the previous year which is up by 18% from the previous year, bringing the total of extreme impoverished women to 733,000 nationally in 2012.
Extreme poverty is defined as an annual income of $5,500 or less.
"It's really something that was unexpected," said Katherine Gallagher Robbins, a senior policy analyst at the National Women's Law Center who found that poverty levels during previous year remained near its record-high level. There was no practical explanation for the increase in extreme poverty amongst elderly women occuring in 2012
Although one thing her group was considering was that reductions in Social Security Administration funding might have made it harder for individuals eligible for and dependent on SSI funding to get it. However, the analyst Robbins she was quick to add, that was "pure hypothesizing."
Roughly 17.8 million women in the U.S. lived in poverty. Of those, 7.8 million women reported extreme poverty. More than 20 percent of the country's children -- over 16 million -- lived in poverty. Poverty rates were highest for black, Hispanic and foreign-born children (all were 30 percent or greater), according to the report.
Women living in extreme poverty in 2012 were 62 percent non-Hispanic whites, 17 percent African Americans, and 16 percent Hispanics (who could be of any race). A further 4 percent were Asian and 2 percent were Native American, one of the groups of elderly with the highest poverty rates.