New Study Shows Some City Women Out-Earn Men

New US census data shows that young women in certain major American cities are actually earning more than young men by 117 percent, though the trend does not hold past the age of 30 and the data does not examine women and men in similar occupations. The new data shows that women aged 21-30 in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, and Dallas out-earn men, with women in Dallas pulling in the greatest wage difference of 120 percent. Nationwide, the New York Times reports that women are making only 89 percent of men’s annual salaries.

Analysts are pointing to two major reasons for the trend. First, women have been graduating from college at higher rates than men, and secondly, more college-graduated women head to big cities than college-graduated men. Others claim that women are more likely to be ambitious and career-driven earlier in their career in order to position themselves to have children in their early 30s, though other studies show that women are being pushed out, rather than “opting out,” of careers.

Still, the study does not compare women and men in similar jobs. Furthermore, it does not examine all the factors that contribute to the reversal of this trend after age 30. Women and men lawyers may be hired at identical salaries for their first year at a law firm, but women make up only 17 percent of partners nationwide.

Further complicating the analysis of this new trend is the racial breakdown of women and men earners. In New York City, women in general are making 117 percent of men’s salaries. Among Asians in New York City, however, women and men are earning equal salaries and white women are actually making less than white men by 11 percent. Black women and Latina women are surpassing their male counter-parts, earning 107 percent and 108 percent, respectively, of black and Latino men’s salaries. Nationally, men in all racial groups out-earn women, though the gap is the smallest among Asians and Latinos.


New York Times 8/3/07; Feministing.com 8/3/07; WIMN's Voices 8/5/07

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