Wage Gap Costs American Women $500 Billion a Year; Difference Varies Widely by State

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A new report shows women earn about 80% of what men do to work the same job, with the difference adding up to a discrepancy of about $500 billion a year. The report, titled “The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap,” was written by the advocacy group The American Association of University Women and covers 2017 pay data.

The pay differential crosses over many occupations. Of 114 occupations measured, women only had a pay advantage in one — wholesale and retail buyers. This totaled $235 million a year across all people employed in jobs within the category. The other categories that were closest as measured by the pay gap between men and women were food preparation and serving workers where the national difference in annual compensation was $26 million, which is a 99% pay ratio; writers and authors ($76 million, a 98% pay ratio); and pharmacists ($253 million, a 98% pay ratio).

In several professions with a large number of employees nationwide, the earnings gulf between men and women was significant. Among financial managers, the national annual difference totaled $19.6 billion per year, a 65% pay ratio; physicians and surgeons, a gap of $19.5 billion, a 71% pay ratio; and first-line supervisors of retail sales workers, a yearly earnings difference of $14.8 billion across all jobs in the sector, a 74% pay ratio.

In 2017, median annual earnings in the U.S. for full-time workers were $41,977 for women, compared with $52,146 for men, or a ratio of 80 cents on the dollar. The pay gap is the difference in men’s and women’s median earnings, and is usually reported as either the earnings ratio between men and women or as the actual pay gap.

“While the nation’s unemployment rate is down, and the number of women working is up, the wage gap is sadly remaining stagnant. It’s unacceptable,” said Kimberly Churches, chief executive officer of AAUW. “There is no gender differentiation when it comes to quality, skills, and talent.”

Among states, the wage differential runs from 89% in California to 69% in Louisiana.

Besides California, the states where the pay differential is narrower are: Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington.

Aside from Louisiana, states where the pay gap is widest are: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky,  Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The AAUW study also found wage gaps in every age group and by ethnicity. The narrowest pay gap by age is those between the ages of 20 and 24 where women make 90% of what men earn. Women between the ages of 25 to 54 are paid between 78% to 89% of what men make, and women ages 55 to 65 earn 78% of what men are paid.

By ethnicity, Latinas are paid 53 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. African-American women are paid 61 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

“The impact of occupational segregation, motherhood penalties, and racial biases on women’s careers and earnings cannot be dismissed, even if researchers can statistically account for them,” the report said in its conclusion.

The data for the study were pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau.

The AAUW is an advocacy group that has as its mission the goal of closing the gap between men and women’s pay.

Rank State Men Women Earnings Ratio
1 California $52,487 $46,783 89.1%
2 New York $55,636 $48,901 87.9%
3 Florida $42,261 $36,746 87.0%
4 Delaware $54,657 $47,052 86.1%
5 Vermont $48,924 $41,976 85.8%
6 Maryland $61,263 $52,381 85.5%
7 Arizona $46,681 $39,675 85.0%
8 North Carolina $46,289 $38,784 83.8%
9 Rhode Island $55,183 $46,146 83.6%
10 Nevada $45,439 $37,880 83.4%
11 New Mexico $42,690 $35,523 83.2%
12 Massachusetts $65,939 $54,646 82.9%
13 Connecticut $62,976 $52,120 82.8%
14 Georgia $47,114 $38,958 82.7%
15 Maine $49,476 $40,618 82.1%
16 Minnesota $55,812 $45,798 82.1%
17 Alaska $57,943 $47,472 81.9%
18 Tennessee $45,032 $36,812 81.8%
19 Oregon $50,965 $41,572 81.6%
20 Colorado $54,869 $44,733 81.5%
21 Texas $49,414 $40,236 81.4%
22 Hawaii $51,594 $41,664 80.8%
United States $52,146 $41,977 80.5%
23 Pennsylvania $52,111 $41,929 80.5%
24 New Jersey $64,497 $51,538 79.9%
25 Wisconsin $51,346 $40,930 79.7%
26 North Dakota $51,563 $40,964 79.4%
27 New Hampshire $57,966 $46,044 79.4%
28 Virginia $57,690 $45,692 79.2%
29 Arkansas $43,266 $34,154 78.9%
30 Iowa $50,295 $39,658 78.9%
31 Montana $45,616 $35,964 78.8%
32 Kentucky $46,289 $36,487 78.8%
33 Missouri $47,436 $37,339 78.7%
34 Washington $60,893 $47,681 78.3%
35 Michigan $51,749 $40,453 78.2%
36 Ohio $51,000 $39,774 78.0%
37 Illinois $55,585 $43,149 77.6%
38 Wyoming $51,948 $40,200 77.4%
39 South Carolina $45,477 $35,142 77.3%
40 Nebraska $50,293 $38,726 77.0%
41 Kansas $49,267 $37,931 77.0%
42 Oklahoma $46,114 $35,488 77.0%
43 South Dakota $46,170 $35,424 76.7%
44 Mississippi $42,287 $32,441 76.7%
45 Idaho $46,241 $34,665 75.0%
46 West Virginia $47,425 $35,078 74.0%
47 Alabama $48,199 $35,414 73.5%
48 Indiana $50,782 $37,167 73.2%
49 Utah $52,249 $37,252 71.3%
50 Louisiana $50,445 $34,708 68.8%