WASHINGTON — As Women's History Month comes to a close, new data from the Pew Research Center indicates that there has been progress in narrowing the gender pay gap. This has been especially pronounced for younger women in the workplace.
The study found that among fulltime, yearround workers in 2019, women's median earnings were 82% of their male counterparts. However women under 30 made 93 cents on the dollar, compared to men in the same age group.
The data also indicates that these young women made equal to or more than their male counterparts in 22 metro areas, including D.C., Los Angeles, and New York City.
Did young women make more than young men in some major metro areas in 2019?
- Pew Research Center, "Young Women Are Out-Earning young Men in Several U.S. Cities"
- Pew Research Center, Dataset
- Richard Fry, Senior Researcher at Pew Research Center
- Dr. Eiko Strader, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies at The George Washington University
- Nadia Brown, Professor at Georgetown University
Yes. Young women, under 30, made equal to or more than young men in 22 metro areas, including D.C., Los Angeles and New York City in 2019.
WHAT WE KNOW:
The gender pay gap has been an issue for generations, and a recent study indicates that it persists, although it's narrowing.
The Pew Research Center looked through statistics from the 2019 Census, breaking down the median earnings for fulltime, yearlong workers under 30-years-old.
The data found that nationwide women made $0.93 on the dollar compared to men, and improvement from past decades.
"Back in 2000, young women were earning $0.88 on the dollar compared to young men," Richard Fry, who conducted the research, said in an interview with WUSA9.
Fry said this was a sign of improving wages for women, although it's unclear how this gender gap will change as these workers age.
"Something has happened over the 20 years," he said.
The data also found that there were 22 metro areas where young women made the same or more than their male counterparts.
"About 16% of the young women's workforce lives in those 22 metros," he said. "So it's not one in five. But it's still not trivial."
According to a detailed table from the Pew Research Center, numerous major markets saw a narrowing gender gap. In some large metro markets, young women made more than men.
- Chicago metro young women earn 94% of what young men earn yearly.
- Boston metro young women earn 95% of what young men earn yearly.
- Dallas metro young women earn 95% of what young men earn yearly.
- Houston metro young women earn 95% of what young men earn yearly.
- Philadelphia metro young women earn 95% of what young men earn yearly.
- San Francisco metro young women earn 98% of what young men earn yearly.
- Atlanta metro young women earn 99% of what young men earn yearly.
- Los Angeles metro young women earn 100% of what young men earn yearly.
- Washington D.C. metro young women earn 102% of what young men earn yearly.
- New York City metro young women earn 102% of what young men earn yearly.
For added context, our team spoke with Nadia Brown, a professor at Georgetown University, and Dr. Eiko Strader from the George Washington University. They both agreed that this data needs context.
"if this were my student putting this together," said Brown. "I would say 'oh, that's interesting. But tell me more.'"
Strader said that one limitation has to do with the fact that this data only looked at fulltime workers.
"More women still work as part-time workers," she said. "So if we include parttime work — parttime employed women — the gender wage gap is still there."
Looking at younger workers may also not be the best indicator, since the gender gap often grows, as women age.
"On average, women — you know — tend to earn less or they get hit on their wages when they become mothers — when they have kids," said Strader.
The narrowing gender gap among young women might be a sign that less women are having children under 30.
"We know so many millennials and Gen Z (women) who have put off having children," said Brown. "And that has been really apparent in this pandemic."
Brown also said that this big picture perspective, may overlook disparities among certain demographics.
"I don't expect Black women's pay to be as high," she said. "[I also don't expect] Latinx women's pay to be as high or Native Women's pay to be as high.
To look over the Pew Research Center study, click here.