Although women are better educated and working harder than they were in 2000, women-led households in the Chicago metropolitan region are falling further behind economically, a new study commissioned by the Eleanor Foundation finds. Conducted by Malcolm Bush of Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, the study, Changing Conditions in a Changing World — The Situation of Working Female Heads-of-Households in the Chicago Region: Issues, Insights, Implications (23 pages, PDF), measured and compared Census Bureau data from 2000 and 2008 and found that the number of female-headed households grew 9.8 percent, while the number of all households in the region grew by only 4 percent. At the same time, the percentage of women with a college degree leading households increased some 13 percent, while the percentage of those leading households without a high school diploma fell. The study also found that the most significant financial burden on women-led households was rent or mortgage payments and property taxes. Although 78 percent of the women leading households were employed in 2008, 78 percent were "housing burdened" (spending at least a third of their income on housing), including 44 percent who were "housing distressed" (spending more than half their income on housing). In suburban Cook County, 82 percent of such households were housing distressed.