Equal Pay Day: New York Has Smallest U.S. Gender Pay Gap, Wyoming the Biggest

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A mother and her daughter listen to Senator Bernie Sanders in Washington, October 6, 2015. Gary Cameron/Reuters

New York has the smallest gender pay gap in the United States, while Wyoming has the widest, according to a new analysis published to mark Equal Pay Day.

Created in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity, Equal Pay Day each year is held on the day that marks how far into the next year the average woman would need to work to earn the same as the average man made in the entire previous year. So, while it’s being held on April 4 this year, if miraculous strides were somehow made in the upcoming months to close the gender pay gap, the day could be held on, say, March 31 next year—still representing a full extra three months of work for the average woman.  

Women earn a median of $40,742 in the U.S., compared to the $51,212 taken home by men, according to the Census Bureau. The Pew Research Center points out that while the gender pay gap has narrowed since 1980, it is mainly only younger workers—between ages 25 and 34—who are benefiting. Women in that age group earned 90 cents to the dollar earned by men, compared to the 67 cents they earned in 1980.

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In New York, there’s an 11 percent gap in pay between men and women, while Wyoming has a 36 percent gap. Not only does the wage gap increase as women get older, but more educated women will often be out-earned by less-educated men, according to the U.S. Joint Economic Committee. Across 120 professions with enough men and women to make a decent comparison, women outearned or earned the same as men in just four.

In 28 states, the pay gaps between men and women are larger than the U.S. average, and the majority of those states are in the South and West. Following Wyoming, the country’s worst offenders are Louisana (32 percent gap); West Virginia, Utah and North Dakota (29 percent gap); and Montana and Oklahoma (27 percent gap). Delaware, Florida and the District of Columbia are among the states with the smallest wage gaps. (The data in the analysis come from the 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.)

The gender pay gap also disproportionately affects black and Hispanic women. (Asian women often earn more than white, black and Hispanic women, and in some cases earn as much or more than white men.) In Wyoming, black and Hispanic women earn only about half of what white men earn, at 56 percent and 54 percent, respectively. Louisiana is the worst state for black women, who earn 49 percent of what white men take home, closely followed by Utah, where they earn 54 percent, and Washington, D.C., where they earn 55 percent.  

Even in New York, which has the smallest gap overall, Hispanic women earn 58 percent of white men’s pay, compared to 69 percent for black women, 81 percent for white women and 85 percent for Asian women. The gap between white men and Hispanic women is also particularly glaring in a number of other states: In Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Utah and Washington State, Hispanic women earn less than half of what white men take home. Sexuality is seen as another factor in the pay gap. According to Hired, a career site, non-LGBTQ men outearn all other categories, followed by LGBTQ men, non-LGBTQ women, and LGBTQ women.  

With the wage gap not estimated to close until at least 2059, there's a lot of waiting to be done. That's especially true in  Wyoming, where the gap isn’t seen as closing for at least another century, in 2153. Even though Ivanka Trump—President Donald Trump's daughter, and someone who helps pay $15,000 in monthly rent—tweeted on Tuesday that "women deserve equal pay for equal work," women probably shouldn't try to hold their breath for this to happen.