The wage gap between men and women will not close for 45 years, according to new research from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The group found that the wage gap will instead close in 2057
April 9 is Equal Pay Day, a holiday established in 1996 to highlight the earnings discrepancy between men and women in the United States. Across the country, women in full-time, year-round jobs make just 78.8% of what men in comparable positions make, equating to more than $10,000 less a year.
The gap can be larger or smaller depending on the metropolitan area. Women working full time and year-round in the Provo-Orem, Utah, metro area make just 61.6% of what men make. Conversely, women in the Los Angeles area make 91.4% of what men make. Based on a review of the 100 most populous metropolitan areas, these are the cities with the smallest wage gap between men and women.
That women’s salaries are more in line with men’s in some areas does not necessarily mean that women in those areas are doing well relative to women elsewhere. In fact, the median income for women in eight of the 10 metropolitan areas was less than the national median income for women, which was $37,199. Women earned less than $30,000 in metropolitan areas like McAllen, Texas, and El Paso, Texas, where income inequality was less pronounced.
Many of these areas have a higher concentration of low-wage jobs in sectors such as maintenance and food preparation, which also tend to pay women and men more equitably. “A low-wage gap can just mean shared misery,” said Ariane Hegewisch, a study director for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
The gap tends to be more pronounced in higher-wage occupations, especially ones where a sizable portion of pay comes from bonuses and commissions, Hegewisch pointed out. This is because these types of compensation measures tend to be based to a larger extent on subjective factors, allowing for bias to impact a wage decision unnoticed.
Conversely, positions in fields such as information technology tend to have a much lower pay disparity between men and women, since pay tends to come predominantly from base salaries.
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24/7 Wall St. identified the metropolitan areas that have the smallest pay disparity between men and women by comparing the median earnings for the past 12 months of both men and women working full-time, year-round in the country’s 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas. We also reviewed employment composition in different sectors and the wages for both men and women in each. All data was from the U.S. Census Bureau for 2011, the most recent period available.
These are the best-paying cities for women.
10. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 84.8%
> Median income for men: $42,420
> Median income for women: $35,958
Although median earnings for women in the Tampa metropolitan area were lower than the U.S. median of $37,199, they were closer to men’s compared to the country as a whole. In office and administrative support positions, where 16.6% of full-time workers in the area were employed, women made 93.4% of men’s wages, compared to 87.7% across the country. In sales-related occupations, women made 80.9% of men’s pay. Although this gap was wider than the wage gap as a whole, it was better than all but one other metropolitan area. Production occupations, which nationwide pay women less than 70% of men’s salaries, are far less common in Tampa, accounting for just 3.8% of workers there, versus 6.8% nationwide.
9. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla.
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 85.4%
> Median income for men: $40,817
> Median income for women: $34,852
The median annual earnings for both men and women were lower in the Miami area than in the United States as whole. However, while women across the nation earned just 78.8% of their male counterparts’ pay, in the Miami metropolitan area this figure was over 85%. In the largest sector in Miami, office administration and support, women’s median income was 97.4% of men’s. Also, women in three professions — installation, construction and the life, physical and social sciences — actually had a higher median pay than men. Unfortunately, in sales positions, which made up nearly 13% of employment in the area, women earned just 58.8% as much as men, versus an already low 65% nationwide.
8. San Antonio-New Braunfels, Tex.
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 85.5%
> Median income for men: $40,633
> Median income for women: $34,753
San Antonio-area women working in the business and financial industries were paid 87.6% of what their male counterparts earned. Although hardly equal, it was the ninth-smallest percentage difference among all metro areas for the field. Nationally, women in business and finance earned just 73.3% of male salaries. Both men and women earned less than the national median. The median pay for area men was more than $6,000 less than the national equivalent, while for women it was less than $2,500 less.
7. El Paso, Tex.
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 85.6%
> Median income for men: $33,821
> Median income for women: $28,959
The median pay for El Paso women working in office and administrative support was 99% of that for similarly employed men, one of the smallest disparities in the nation. Additionally, area women who worked in a sales position had median pay 74.2% of the male median, better than in the majority of metropolitan areas and the country overall, where women made just 65% of male salaries. Also, some occupations that grossly underpaid women were not as common in the area. Legal workers accounted for just 0.6% of the area workforce, less than half the proportion for the United States overall. Across the nation, female legal workers earned under 52% of the male median pay.
6. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Tex.
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 86.5%
> Median income for men: $30,288
> Median income for women: $26,191
Although the median pay for women working full time in McAllen was more than $11,000 less than the pay for women across the country, their pay relative to men was among the best in the United States. In community and social services occupations, which made up a disproportionate share of the jobs compared to the country as a whole, women were paid more than 125% of what men made, higher than all but four other metropolitan areas. In maintenance professions, which also made up a considerably higher proportion of the jobs compared to the rest of the country, women were paid 99.9% of male salaries. Yet the highest-paid female workers relative to men were those in personal care and service jobs, where women made a nation-high 143.8% more than men.