Editor’s Note: Today is Equal Pay Day, a day that is used to recognize the US gender-wage gap. It’s used to signify how much longer into the following calendar the average woman must work in order to earn the same wage as her male counterpart the previous year. The following is an article published March 31, 2020 on by US Census Bureau:
Women Still Have to Work Three Months Longer to Equal What Men Earned in a Year
For the first time and the earliest since its inception, Equal Pay Day – how far into the year women must work to equal what men earned the previous year – is March 31, a sign that the gender pay gap is narrowing.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey Data tracks the median earnings of full-time, year-round workers used to calculate Equal Pay Day.
Originated in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE), the Equal Pay Day initiative spotlights the gap between men’s and women’s wages.
At its lowest point in 1973, full-time, working women earned a median of 56.6 cents to every dollar that full-time, working men earned. Since then, women’s median earnings have gained 25 cents, reaching 81.6 cents in 2018.
This pay gap is costly.
NCPE estimates that “over a working lifetime, this wage disparity costs the average American woman and her family an estimated $700,000 to $2 million, impacting Social Security benefits and pensions.”
At the current rate, it will take until 2059 for women to achieve equal pay.
The gender pay gap has been studied extensively over time. No one factor, discriminatory or nondiscriminatory in nature, accounts for 100% of the pay gap. Researchers often rely on Census Bureau data to generate insights.
The Pay Gap Over Time
For about 20 years, through the 1960s and 1970s, the female-to-male earnings ratio was stagnant, hovering between 57 to 61 cents to the dollar of male earnings.
During the 1980s, the pay gap narrowed nearly 10 cents, marking the most income gain in any decade. It took nearly another 30 years for women to gain the next 10 cents to reach 2018’s ratio of 81.6 cents on the dollar.
Current Population Survey data from 1961-2018, show how the female-to-male earnings ratio of full-time workers has narrowed over seven decades.
Equal Pay Day Comes Later For Many Women
The gender wage gap varies depending on women’s education, race and whether they are married or have children, among other factors.
For example, tables from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) show women who were never married (90%) experience less of a gap compared to women who are in mid-life (75%), Latina (86%), hold a bachelor’s degree or higher (75%) or are separated (78%).
The gender-based pay gap narrows for blacks (89%) — though black workers have a lower median income overall — and all women 16-34 years of age (91-87%).
American Community Survey (ACS) data on single parents show that single mothers who earn less than $30,000 a year make up 51% of all single mothers while single fathers in the same income category make up 29% of their cohort.
Read the full article and see the infographics here: https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2020/03/equal-pay-day-is-march-31-earliest-since-1996.html