Related BLS programs | Related articles
July/August 2007, Vol. 130, No. 7
Earnings by gender: evidence from Census 2000
Daniel H. Weinberg
People are curious as to what others earn in their jobs. Career counselors need to tell their clients what wage or salary to expect from a particular occupation, those concerned about gender discrimination in hiring and promotions need to know what others earn so they can investigate claims, and workers claiming loss of wages due to injuries need to know the profile of earnings by age and occupation. The list of those wanting to know more about wages and earnings seems endless.
Of particular interest is the ratio of women’s earnings to men’s earnings. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that, "The female-to-male earnings ratio [for year-round full-time workers] was 0.77 in 2005," well above the ratio of 0.64 recorded for 1955, the first year for which the Census Bureau calculated the ratio.1
This article looks at the distribution of earnings by occupation for all year-round full-time workers and separately for men and women as reported on Census 2000. Earnings include income from wages, salaries, and self-employment. The article also provides a summary of the main results of a more extensive Census 2000 Special Report.2
It is not easy to thoroughly describe the earnings distribution. This article uses two factors to ease explication: median earnings (earnings at the 50th percentile) and earnings dispersion (as measured by the ratio of earnings at the 90th percentile to earnings at the 10th percentile) for all year-round full-time civilian workers 16 years or older (hereinafter called "workers") by selected characteristics and across occupations.3
This excerpt is from an article published in the July/August 2007 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
Read abstract Download full article in PDF (282K)
1 Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Cheryl Hill Lee, Income in the United States: 2005 (U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Reports P60–231, August 2006). See http://www.census.gov/hhes/income/histinc/p36.html for the time series of estimates.
2 Daniel H. Weinberg, Evidence from Census 2000 About Earnings by Detailed Occupation for Men and Women (U.S. Census Bureau Census 2000 Special Report CENSR-15, May 2004).
3 Year-round means an individual worked 50 or more weeks in 1999 (or is an elementary or secondary school teacher who worked 37 or more weeks), including paid vacations. Full-time means the individual worked 35 or more hours a week. If this limitation had not been imposed, occupations where part-time or part-year work is prevalent would have lower earnings and higher earnings dispersion simply because of the fewer hours worked by some each year, not because of variation within the occupation for comparably employed individuals. Workers in the Armed Forces are excluded.
Related BLS programs
Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
earnings: an overview.—Dec.
Earnings of college graduates: women compared with men.—Mar. 1998.
Earnings differences by sex: an introductory note.—Jun. 1984.
Earnings of men and women: a look at specific occupations.—Apr. 1982.
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers