How Much Women Are Earning Compared to Men in Every State

March 13th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

Women who work full time in the United States still earn about 78 cents for every dollar a man earns, even in 2016. That's the gender pay gap: an economic disparity that has seen modest improvements over the past decades but continues to leave women at a disadvantage in the workplace. In some states, the gap is wider than in others.


To estimate the gender pay gap, you have to compare the median earnings of men and women working full time year-round. It's an imperfect method because there are several factors that could contribute to income disparities — differences in the types of jobs men and women pursue, for example — but it reveals a trend that has historically left women behind. Using data from the Census Bureau's 2014 American Community Survey, Business Insider created a map that shows the gender pay gap on a state-by-state level.

This map shows the gender pay gap in each state

gender pay gap

The most apparent takeaway from the map is that women earn less than men in all 50 states. But in certain states — namely Louisiana, Utah, and Wyoming — the gender income disparity is far greater than the national average. In Louisiana, women earn about 65 cents for every dollar a man makes. On the other end of the spectrum, women make 90 cents for every dollar a man makes in the District of Columbia.

The pay gap goes beyond median earnings. Women are also less likely to receive "employer-sponsored health and retirement benefits, training opportunities, flexible work arrangements, and paid family and sick leave," a 2015 report from the Council of Economic Advisers found.

pay gap

When you factor in race, the gender gap is demonstrably wider. For every dollar a white man makes, a Hispanic woman can expect to receive about 54 cents. The same comparison shows that Black women earn 63 cents for every dollar a white man earns, according to a report from The American Association of University Women.

pay gap

What contributes to the gender pay gap?

Differences in education, experience, occupations, and family responsibilities between men and women are all believed to contribute to the gender pay gap. While woman have made great strides in education attainment in the past few decades and have gradually entered industries that were previously male-dominated, discrimination against women is considered a powerful barrier, keeping women from attaining the same income levels as their male counterparts.

"It is difficult to isolate how much of the pay gap is due to discrimination," researchers at the Council of Economic Advisers wrote. "As this issue brief has discussed throughout, discrimination and implicit bias can impact the pay gap through many channels. It can influence what women choose to study in school, the industry or occupation that they choose to work in, the likelihood of a promotion or a raise, and even the chances that they stay working in their chosen profession."

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