An analysis released for Equal Pay Day tomorrow reveals the size of the gender wage gap and its detrimental effects on women’s spending power in all 50 states. Women employed full time, year-round in the United States are paid just 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly gap of $10,470. The gap varies by state, but the largest cents-on-the-dollar differences are in Wyoming, Louisiana, West Virginia, Utah and North Dakota. The smallest cents-on-the-dollar differences are in New York and Delaware.
The new analysis was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families and is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The findings span all 50 states and the District of Columbia and can be found at NationalPartnership.org/Gap. The National Partnership also analyzed the wage gap by congressional district, in more than 20 major metropolitan areas, and for Black women and Latinas in 20 states. Nationally, Black women are paid 63 cents and Latinas just 54 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. White, non-Hispanic women are paid 75 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. And Asian women are paid 85 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, although some ethnic subgroups of Asian women fare much worse.
“Equal Pay Day is a painful reminder that women in this country have had to work more than three months into this year just to catch up with what men were paid last year,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership. “This analysis shows just how damaging that lost income can be for women and their families, as well as the economy and the businesses that depend on women’s purchasing power. Entire communities, states and our country suffer because lawmakers have not done nearly enough to end wage discrimination or advance the fair and family friendly workplace policies that would help erase the wage gap.”
According to the analysis, if the wage gap were eliminated, a woman who holds a full-time, year-round job would have enough money for 1.5 more years of food, seven more months of mortgage and utilities payments, 11 more months of rent, 15 more months of child care, 1.2 additional years of tuition and fees at a four-year public university, the full cost of tuition and fees for a two-year community college, or up to 8.7 additional years of birth control. Loss of income that could go toward these necessities is especially significant for those living in the more than 15 million U.S. households headed by women, 29 percent of which are in poverty.
“Numerous studies show that the wage gap persists regardless of occupation, industry, education level or perceived personal choices,” Ness continued. “That is why we need a set of public policies that ensure women have access to good and decent-paying jobs, the support they need to stay and advance in their careers, and fair and nondiscriminatory treatment wherever they work and whatever jobs they hold. That means fair pay and practices, family friendly workplace standards, full funding for federal agencies that investigate and enforce fair pay, and comprehensive reproductive health care.”
Tomorrow, members of Congress are expected to reintroduce the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help break harmful patterns of pay discrimination and establish stronger workplace protections for women. National Partnership experts say the bill would help close the wage gap, along with policies like the Healthy Families Act, which would guarantee paid sick days; the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would create a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program; and measures that would increase the minimum wage and strengthen pregnant worker protections.
The National Partnership’s analysis of the wage gap was released in advance of Equal Pay Day, which is April 4 this year. Equal Pay Day marks how far into the new year women must work in order to catch up with what men were paid in the year before. The findings for each state are available in map form at NationalPartnership.org/Gap, in addition to analyses of the wage gap at the national level, in the 20 states with the largest numbers of Black women and Latinas who work full time, in more than 20 major metropolitan areas, and in all 435 congressional districts.