An analysis released for Equal Pay Day tomorrow shows that the gender-based wage gap is hurting women and families in every single state and every one of the country’s major metropolitan areas. The median yearly pay for women who are employed full time, year round in the United States is $11,084 less than men’s. If the gap were eliminated, women in Seattle could buy an additional 2.3 years’ worth of food. Chicago’s working women could afford 2,700+ more gallons of gas. And women employed full time in New York City could afford seven more months of rent.
This first-ever analysis of these U.S. Census Bureau data by metropolitan area was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The findings for the country’s 50 largest metropolitan areas and all 50 states can be found at www.NationalPartnership.org/Gap. Included on that page are the results of an analysis of the wage gap for African American women and Latinas in the 20 states in which the majority of them work, which was released in January.
“It is terribly disappointing that not a single state or metropolitan area has eliminated the wage gap that punishes women and their families. This new analysis illustrates how pervasive the gender-based wage gap is, and what it costs families,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “With most women serving as essential breadwinners for their families, the loss of this critical income has devastating consequences. Local, state and federal lawmakers should make ending gender discrimination in pay and promotions a much higher priority.”
The new analysis finds the metropolitan areas with the largest gender-based, cents-on-the-dollar pay differences are the Seattle, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Detroit areas. The states with the largest cents-on-the-dollar differences are Wyoming, Louisiana, Utah and West Virginia. The findings include analyses of what the wage gap in each state and locality means in terms of women’s spending power, particularly on food, housing and gas. Loss of these basic necessities is especially relevant for the more than 15.1 million U.S. households headed by women, 31 percent of which fall below the poverty line.
Nationally, women who hold full-time jobs are paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to men who hold full-time jobs. African American women and Latinas fare worse, being paid 64 cents and just 55 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. This wage gap has been closing at a rate of less than half a cent per year since passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963. At that rate, women will not be paid equally for more than 40 years.
“Fifty years ago this year, the Equal Pay Act became law. Yet a punishing wage gap persists for women in every corner of the country,” Ness continued. “We must do more to close the wage gap, which is present in every industry, and affects workers with every level of education. Congress and the president can and must do more. We are urging Congress to prioritize passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act and President Obama to take executive action to ensure that federal contractors do not discriminate in pay. It is past time to make gender-based pay discrimination a thing of the past.”
The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, help to break harmful patterns of pay discrimination, and establish stronger workplace protections for women. It was reintroduced in Congress in January. President Obama has been a vocal supporter of the bill, calling on Congress to pass it in his State of the Union address in February. The National Partnership and other advocates are calling on the president to issue an executive order on fair pay, which would set an example for the nation’s employers and help ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to support discriminatory pay practices.
The National Partnership’s research on the wage gap was released the day before Equal Pay Day, which marks how far into the new year women must work in order to catch up with what men were paid the year before. The analysis uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau and spans all 50 states and the country’s 50 largest metropolitan areas. The findings for each locality, along with state and metropolitan area rankings, are available at www.NationalPartnership.org/Gap.