Metros, Money, Manpower: Exploring the Gender Earnings Gap across U.S. Labor Markets and Occupations

Jennifer Cheeseman Day, U.S. Census Bureau
Melissa Chiu, U.S. Census Bureau
China J. Layne, U.S. Census Bureau

Median earnings of full-time, year round workers were $40,910 in 2008 with women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio at .78. Evidence suggests that earnings differentials may be greater at the 75th percentile and above. Researchers attribute this disparity to differences in occupational choice, educational attainment, attachment to the labor force, and other reasons. Across local labor markets, median earnings differ as does the relationship between women’s and men’s earnings reflecting the area’s price of labor based on its supply, demand, and institutional controls. Since the distribution of women and men varies across occupations, and since earnings for these occupations differ, we expect the earnings ratio to reflect, at least in part, the occupational mix and labor supply composition of a local labor market. Using new 5-year data from the American Community Survey, we explore to what extent the economic and demographic context of a labor market determines the gender gap.

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Presented in Poster Session 4