The Gender Pay Gap Across the USA

In 2014, American women earned on average $152 less than men. Per week. On an hourly basis, this means that female workers were paid only $0.83 for every dollar paid to a man. As the working hours, weeks and months pass, the earnings gap between genders becomes more and more significant . The $152 per week quickly become almost $8,000, at the end of the year. And these averages hide further inequalities. For example, between 2005 and 2015, each week Latinas earned only 60% of what White men earned. And only $0.74 for every dollar earned by a White women. In 2013, ladies in Louisiana were paid 44% less than men. At the opposite side of the spectrum, women in Washington D.C. earned almost earned as much as male workers (91%).

In this Silk, we've collected, analyzed and visualized the latest available data on the gender and race pay gap. We've used data from:

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The Gender Pay Gap 1979 - 2015

Annual average of women's weekly earnings as a percentage of men's weekly earnings. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Note: 2015 refers only to Jan-April average.





Back in 1979, women earned only 62% of what men earned. On a weekly basis, the average pay of a full-time working woman was $182. Men, on the other hand, made 292 bucks. 



Slowly, things have improved. In the first quarter of 2015, female workers made "only" 17% less than men. In other words, $730 dollars per week for women, against $895 for men.

The trend might look like a positive one. But it's pace isn't. In 36 years, women's earnings grew from 38% (1979) to 17% (2015) less than male ones. That's 21 percentage points in 36 years. Or 0.6 per year. With this pace, women earnings will match men's only in 28 years...in 2033!

Plus, even as the gender pay gap (slowly) closes on a national level, there are still big geographical discrepancies. The latest American Community Survey data is from 2013. In that year, women on average earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man. In thirteen States, the gender pay gap was lower. Washington D.C. led the ranking, with women making "only" 9% less.

Geographical Breakdown of Women's Earning as Percentage of Men's in the USA (2013)

Women's annual earnings as a percentage of men's annual earnings. State averages. Source:  2013 American Community Survey Data











Yet, in many other States, the situation is much worse. Women could be earning more than $10K less than men, over the course of the year. In Louisiana, for example, women on average earn about $16,500 less!



Details on the Gender Pay Gap in Each State (2013)

Change the filter to visualize other states. Source:  2013 American Community Survey Data



Geography isn't the only factor influencing the gender pay gap. Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino women are worse off than White women when compared to White men. Yet they also score much better within race. For example, Black/African American women earn 90% of men of the same race, while White women make only 81% of what White men make.

Women's Weekly Earnings as a Percentage of Men's Weekly Earnings (2005-2015 Average)

Source: Bureau of Labor StatisticsNote: 2015 refers only to Jan-April average.



Women's Weekly Earnings as % of White Men's

Source: Bureau of Labor StatisticsNote: 2015 refers only to Jan-April average.



Asian and White women are the two groups with a smaller gender pay gap. They are also the groups that are closing it at a faster rate. In 1979 Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino and White women had a similar gender gap earnings ratio. Between 53 and 62% of what White men earned. In 2015, the numbers have a more noticeable variance: between 60% and 81%. In other words, the gender pay gap for Hispanic/Latino ladies improved by only 7 percentage points in 36 years. While  White women's grew by 19.

As a result, the within-gender ethnic/racial pay gap is actually getting worse. In 1979, Hispanic/Latino women were earning $0.85 for every dollar earned by a White women. In 2015, this value has dropped to $0.73. Black/African American Women experienced a similar pattern. Their earnings dropped from 92% to 82% of White women's pay.

Women's Weekly Earnings as % of White Women's

Source: Bureau of Labor StatisticsNote: 2015 refers only to Jan-April average.



Read More Articles on the Gender and Race Pay Gap in the USA in the following sections

Click on the titles

Wives Earning More Than Their Husband (% Married Couples with Wife and Husband Earning)
African American Women's Earnings as % of those of White Non-Hispanic Men

Disclaimer: The presence of a gender pay gap isn't necessarily related to discriminating working environments or to women receiving lower compensations than men for the same job. The gender pay gap might also be dependent on a different work structure. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics "the overall ratio of women’s-to-men’s earnings for full-time workers presented here is not controlled for differences in important determinants of earnings such as age, occupation, and educational attainment". Other authors note that marital status plays a key role in determining women's earnings. According to the American Enterprise Institute: "for full-time single workers who have never married, women earned 95.2% of men’s earnings in 2013, which is a wage gap of only 4.8%". Also, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the the American Enterprise Institute claims that "for full-time single workers with no children under 18 years old at home (single workers includes never married, divorced, separated and widowed), women’s median weekly earnings were 96.1% of their male counterparts".

It seems clear that women, both white and of color, earn less than their male counterparts. Yet, there is no simple, monocausal explanation as to why it is so. Explicit gender/racial discrimination might play a much smaller part than more subtle causes, rooted in our society.

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