Women’s earnings 80 percent of men’s in 2003

October 25, 2004

Between 1979 and 2003, the earnings gap between women and men narrowed for most major age groups. Overall, the women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio was 80 percent in 2003, up from 63 percent in 1979.

Women's earnings as a percent of men's, median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers, by age, 1979 and 2003
[Chart data—TXT]

The ratio of women’s to men’s earnings among 16- to 24-year-olds was 93.3 percent in 2003 compared with 78.5 percent in 1979, and that for 25- to 34-years-olds was 87 percent in 2003 compared with 67.4 percent in 1979.

Among 35- to 44-year-olds, women earned 76.2 percent as much as men in 2003 and 58.3 percent in 1979, while among 45- to 54-year-olds, women earned 73 percent as much as men in 2003 and 56.9 percent as much in 1979.

These data on earnings are produced by the Current Population Survey. Earnings data in this article are median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers. For more information see "Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2003," BLS Report 978 (PDF 208K).


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Women’s earnings 80 percent of men’s in 2003 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2004/oct/wk4/art01.htm (visited September 28, 2016).


Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.