Written by: Lynda Laughlin, Chief, Industry and Occupation Statistics Branch, U.S. Census Bureau
In 2016, median earnings for women was $40,675 compared with $50,741 for men. While the female-to-male earnings ratio has narrowed over the last 50 years, women continue to earn less than men in nearly all occupations. The earnings disparity between men and women is present in occupations that predominantly employ men, and in occupations with a similar mix of men and women. Women are also more likely to be employed in lower-paying occupations.
The data highlighted above comes from a recently released detailed table available from the American Community Survey and offers a good starting point for those interested in understanding women’s and men’s paid work for more than 300 occupations.
Using this table, we can easily explore which occupations have small or large wage gaps, as well as the occupations in which women earn the most. For example, many occupations in finance and sales had a larger wage gap between men and women. Among the highest-paying occupations for women were several health occupations, such as physicians and surgeons, nurse anesthetists, and dentists. Pharmacy has among the lowest earnings gap between men and women. Full-time, year-round female pharmacists earned 97 cents for every dollar male pharmacists earned.
As women’s labor force participation and educational attainment levels have increased, they have been employed in a broader range of occupations. This has contributed to a reduction in the wage gap over time and to the economic well-being of women and their families. We encourage you to check out the earnings in your occupation and access other resources from the Census Bureau.