Women in the United States have achieved great advances and are seeing important changes in their lives. Their access to political, economic, and social rights has improved greatly over the past 20 years. Nonetheless, they do not enjoy equality with men, and they lack many of the legal guarantees that would allow them to achieve it. Women across the nation would benefit from stronger enforcement of equal opportunity laws, greater political representation, adequate and affordable child care, stronger poverty reduction programs, and other policies to improve their status.

The Status of Women in the States is part of an ongoing research project conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) to measure and track the status of women in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Primarily funded by the Ford Foundation, with additional funding from state and local foundations and organizations, this project intends to improve the ability of advocates and policymakers at the state level to address women’s issues. Funding from the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Open Society Foundation, and the Marjorie Cook Family Foundation also supports this project.

The first three sets of reports were released in 1996, 1998, and 2000, consisting of 33 state reports and three national reports. The 2002 series includes nine states as well as this update of the national report. The 2002 National Report provides an overview of women’s status across all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

The data used in each report come from a variety of sources, primarily federal government agencies, although other organizations also provide data. While every effort has been made to check the accuracy and completeness of the information presented, any errors are the responsibility of IWPR.

Alabama Kentucky North Dakota
Alaska Louisiana Ohio
Arizona Maine Oklahoma
Arkansas Maryland Oregon
California Massachusetts Pennsylvania
Colorado Michigan Rhode Island
Connecticut Minnesota South Carolina
Delaware Mississippi South Dakota
District of Columbia Missouri Tennessee
Florida Montana Texas
Georgia Nebraska Utah
Hawaii Nevada Vermont
Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
Illinois New Jersey Washington
Indiana New Mexico West Virginia
Iowa New York Wisconsin
Kansas North Carolina Wyoming

This section provides statistics on the number, age, race, family status and other demographic characteristics of women in the United States (see Table 1.1). These data present an image of the nation’s female population and can be used to provide insight into the topics covered in this report.