Women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio, 1979-2008

July 31, 2009

In 2008, women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median weekly earnings that were about 80 percent of the median for their male counterparts: median weekly wages were $638 for women, $798 for men. In 1979, the first year for which comparable earnings data are available, women earned about 62 percent as much as men.

Women's median usual weekly earnings as percent of men's, full-time wage and salary workers, by age, 1979 and 2008
[Chart data—TXT]

After a gradual rise in the 1980s and 1990s, the women's-to-men's earnings ratio (for all workers age 16 and over) peaked at 81 percent in 2005 and 2006.

Between 1979 and 2008, the earnings gap between women and men narrowed for most age groups. The women's-to-men's earnings ratio among 25-to-34-year-olds rose from 68 percent in 1979 to 89 percent in 2008, and the ratio for 45-to-54-year-olds increased from 57 percent to 75 percent.

The earnings ratios for teenagers, 87 percent in 2008, and for workers aged 65 and older, 75 percent in 2008, fluctuated from 1979 to 2008, but their long-term trends have been essentially flat.

These earnings data are from the Current Population Survey. More statistics on this and related subjects can be found in "Highlights of Women's Earnings in 2008" (PDF), BLS Report 1017.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio, 1979-2008 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2009/jul/wk4/art05.htm (visited July 25, 2016).

OF INTEREST

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.