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Millions of women at risk of poverty

A new report sheds light on the roles of American women and how they support their families.
Two women walk down a street in the South Bronx, Sept. 19, 2013.
Two women walk down a street in the South Bronx, Sept. 19, 2013. According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau report, over a quarter-million people in the South Bronx are living in poverty, making the 16th Congressional District the poorest in the nation.

A groundbreaking report is shedding new light on working women and women looking for work. The report, co-authored by NBC News special anchor Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress, warns that millions of American women are at risk of falling into poverty.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 70% of Americans who are poor or are living on the brink of poverty are women and the children who count on them.

In some cases, the poorest women don't have another adult to help make money. In May, the Pew Research Center found that one in four American families with kids under the age of 18 are headed by a single mom and 40.7 percent of the children born in America are born to unmarried women.

The Department of Labor reports that this is the first recovery since 1970 in which women have continued to lose jobs, not get hired.

One of the sectors that is hiring is fast food, and fast food workers these days aren't just teenagers trying earning pocket money. 66% of fast food workers are women, according to the latest BLS statistics. The median age of women working in the fast food and service industries is 32.  These are women making minimum, or just above minimum, wage.  That’s $7.25 per hour.

One more eye-opening statistic from the newest edition of The Shriver Report: Women held two-thirds of the minimum wage jobs in 2011 even though they represented only 47% of the labor force. 

NBC Special Anchor Maria Shriver’s new report goes beyond these statistics to provide a blueprint for how the government, businesses and all American women can change their situations and “push back from the brink”.  You can read the full report including the stats, the guidelines, essays by LeBron James and Beyonce Knowles, and lists of resources at