[dropcap]W[/dropcap]omen in West Hollywood, while highly educated, have incomes 53 percent less than those of the city’s male residents, are more likely to be disabled and twice as likely as men to live alone.
Those are among the findings of a report on the status of women in West Hollywood prepared by the city’s Human Services and Rent Stabilization Department.
The survey, based on data from the 2010 U.S. Census, the 2013 West Hollywood Community Study and other sources, is intended to provide guidance to the city’s Women’s Advisory Board in determining housing, social services, transportation, public safety and other priorities for the city.
It suggests as priorities exploring ways to keep aging women in their homes, providing more affordable housing options, providing more job training resources, increasing the availability of health services and providing more access to mental health services.
The study also suggests efforts to showcase the creative diversity of women in West Hollywood, encourage more involvement of women in city advisory boards and commissions and on the City Council and increasing leadership opportunities for lesbian and bisexual women.
It notes that a recurring theme from the city’s Community Study last year is concern about the relatively low number of women in city leadership positions. While the city’s population is 44 percent female, only one of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council — Mayor Abbe Land — is a woman.
Other key findings of the study include:
— The percentage of women living in West Hollywood has been declining. While it currently is 44 percent, in 1980 women made up 49 percent of the population. By contrast, women make up 51 percent of the population in Los Angeles County overall.
— West Hollywood’s female population is becoming younger. In 1980, 46 percent of women in West Hollywood were ages 18 to 44. The 2010 Census counted 56 percent of the female population in that age range. In Los Angeles County, women ages 18 to 44 make up 52 percent of the population.
— The percentage of women who are middle aged also is growing, with 32 percent of women in WeHo ages 45 to 64 in 2010, compared with 23 percent in 1980.
— But the elderly population has shown a sharp decline. In 1980, 31 percent of women in West Hollywood were ages 65 to 80. In 2010 the figure was only 16 percent.
— Most women in West Hollywood are white. The 2010 U.S. Census says white women make up 78 percent of the city’s population, with Latina women the next largest group at nine percent. Six percent identify as Asian or Pacific Islanders, three percent as African-American and four percent as “other.” In Los Angeles County as a whole, only 27 percent of women identify themselves as white.
— Only three percent of women identify themselves as lesbian in West Hollywood, a city where gay men make up 39 percent of the population, according to the city’s Community Study. Four percent of WeHo men and women identify themselves as bisexual.
— Women in West Hollywood are less likely to be married and more likely to live alone. The study reports that the percentage of married women fell from 28 percent in 2000 to 19 percent in 2010. That compares to 38 percent in Los Angeles County. Sixty percent of women in West Hollywood say that they live alone, an increase from the 52 percent in 1999. By contrast, 24 percent of women live alone in Los Angeles County according to the U.S. Census.
— The percentage of households with children in West Hollywood has fallen dramatically in the past 30 years. The U.S. Census in 1980 reported 13 percent of WeHo households had one or more children under the age of 18. In 2010 that had fallen to five percent. The percentage is 32 percent in Los Angeles County.
— Members of WeHo’s small lesbian population are more likely to be in a same-sex relationship and less likely to live alone than women in general. A study by UCLA’s Williams Institute in 2013 showed that 61 percent of WeHo women identifying as lesbian or bisexual live with a same-sex spouse or domestic partner. Sixty-two percent of lesbian couples have one or more children.
— Nearly half of women in West Hollywood are long-time residents. The study reports that 47 percent have lived in WeHo for 10 years or more. Thirty-six percent of women have lived in their current home for 10 years or more.
— Women are somewhat less well-educated than men, with 79 percent reporting a college or graduate degree compared with 84 percent of the city’s men.
— The income gap between men and women in West Hollywood is significantly larger than it is in Los Angeles County overall. The average woman earned $32,097 in 2010 in WeHo, 58 percent less than the average man. Women on average earned more in Los Angeles County ($34,497) and the income gap with me was only 25 percent. The disparity between men and women in income is particularly striking in the education/legal sector. Female lawyers and teachers earn, on average, $28,599 less than their men in the same professions. Fifteen percent of West Hollywood women have incomes below the federal poverty level, which ranges from $10,830 for one person to $25,790 for a family of five. Seventeen percent of families with children in West Hollywood live in poverty according to the U.S. Census, compared to 22 percent in Los Angeles County.
— Sixty percent of senior women and 36 percent of senior men in West Hollywood are living with disabilities according to the U.S. Census.
— While the female population is only four percentage points lower than the male population, twice as many men (40) as women (21) serve on city commissions, which are policy making groups. The gap is most pronounced on the city’s Business License Commission and Historic Preservation Commission, each of which has six male members and only one female member. The Rent Stabilization Commission has three female members and four male members. Women outnumber men only on the Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission and Public Safety Commission, each of which has four female members and three male members. The city’s advisory boards, which do not set policy, have a reverse male-female gap, with a total of 40 women serving and 22 men. They include groups such as the Disabilities Advisory Board, the Eastside Taskforce, the Transgender Advisory Board and the Women’s Advisory Board, all of whose eight members are women.
— With only one female elected official — Mayor Abbe Land — West Hollywood ranks substantially higher than does the Los Angeles City Council, which has one female member and 14 male members.