Women Make Half as Much as Men in Some States

Commentary about business and finance.
Oct. 18 2012 12:05 PM

Map Shows the Worst State for Women To Make Money

Gender income inequality by state and county.

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At the second presidential debate, one of the town hall participants posed a question to the candidates that surprised some journalists: “In what new ways to you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?”

In a sense, the question is surprising. Jobs, the deficit, and Libya have ruled this election. When it comes to women, the candidates have stuck to flashpoints like abortion and reproductive health insurance. The maps above show, however, that the question shouldn’t surprise anyone at all. In every state, women make a fraction of what men make. In some counties, they make half as much—or less.

Women in Utah have it the worst. There, the average working woman makes 55 cents for every dollar the average working man makes. The state is followed closely by Wyoming, at 56 cents; Louisiana, at 59 cents; North Dakota, at 62 cents; and Michigan, at 62 cents. The best states for income equality are Hawaii, Florida, Nevada, Maryland, and North Carolina. In each, women make about three-fourths of what men make.

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County-level data illustrate the best cities for pay equality: Washington, D.C. and Dallas lead, followed by San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Santa Fe, New York, and Boston. In each, women make at least 80 cents per dollar that men make. In most other major cities, they make about 70 cents.

Methodology: The maps show the ratio between the median income of women and the median income of men, among men and women employed in 2010, for each state or county, as estimated in the Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey five-year estimates.

Update: The county-level map was not loading for many Firefox users. We've since fixed the issue. Please let us know in the comments section below if you are experiencing problems. If it's not working for you, you can view the map here.