Women's earnings, 1979–2012

November 04, 2013

In 2012, women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings of $691. On average in 2012, women made about 81 percent of the median earnings of male full-time wage and salary workers ($854). In 1979, the first year for which comparable earnings data are available, women earned 62 percent of what men earned.

Womens earnings as percent of mens, median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers, in current dollars, by age, 1979 to 2012
Women's earnings as percent of men's, median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers, in current dollars, by age, 1979–2012 annual averages
YearTotal, 16 years and older16-19 years20-24 years25-34 years35-44 years45-54 years55-64 years65 years and older

1979

62.385.276.367.558.356.860.677.6

1980

64.289.578.169.458.356.959.476.4

1981

64.491.780.670.359.956.858.971.1

1982

65.792.982.472.161.160.161.470.3

1983

66.594.085.573.361.559.561.868.8

1984

67.693.185.274.662.059.461.566.8

1985

68.190.785.775.163.059.761.065.9

1986

69.591.487.576.163.960.961.271.5

1987

69.887.888.076.766.162.362.268.7

1988

70.289.890.077.768.561.762.370.9

1989

70.194.389.778.368.362.763.974.3

1990

71.990.890.379.369.663.863.774.4

1991

74.293.693.381.070.765.064.568.3

1992

75.894.094.382.071.965.864.977.9

1993

77.192.895.483.073.067.467.474.3

1994

76.492.594.582.972.667.166.076.2

1995

75.588.192.482.272.667.764.780.0

1996

75.088.892.883.273.368.965.370.0

1997

74.491.690.582.974.069.464.777.0

1998

76.388.689.482.973.670.568.172.6

1999

76.591.490.581.571.770.067.978.7

2000

76.992.592.782.471.673.269.175.1

2001

76.490.391.983.072.573.570.569.0

2002

77.994.693.984.575.274.671.673.8

2003

79.493.193.986.976.173.072.771.1

2004

80.492.193.887.875.672.973.074.6

2005

81.092.193.889.075.575.574.776.4

2006

80.887.694.988.277.273.572.977.5

2007

80.289.190.386.976.574.572.877.8

2008

79.987.392.588.574.574.975.474.8

2009

80.290.792.988.777.473.675.376.1

2010

81.294.693.890.879.976.575.275.7

2011

82.288.693.292.378.576.075.180.9

2012

80.988.589.090.278.175.176.277.6

Among the age groupings of those 35 years and older, women had earnings that ranged from 75 percent to 78 percent of the earnings of their male counterparts. Among younger workers, the earnings differences between women and men were not as great. Among workers who were 25 to 34 years old, women earned 90 percent of what men earned; among 16- to 24-year-olds, women earned 89 percent as much as men.

Between 1979 and 2012, women’s-to-men’s earnings ratios rose for most age groups. Among 25- to 34-year-olds, for example, the ratio increased from 68 percent in 1979 to 90 percent in 2012. The women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio for 45- to 54-year-olds increased from 57 percent to 75 percent. 

When adjusted for inflation, women’s earnings since 1979 have increased considerably across the major race and Hispanic ethnicity categories. Earnings growth has been largest for White woman, outpacing that of their Black and Hispanic counterparts. Between 1979 and 2012, inflation-adjusted earnings rose by 31 percent for White women, compared with an increase of 20 percent for Black women and 13 percent for Hispanic women.

Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers, in current dollars, by sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, 1979 to 2012
Median usual weekly earnings of female full-time wage and salary workers, in constant dollars, by race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, 1979–2012 annual averages
YearTotal, 16 years and olderWhiteBlack or African AmericanAsian(1)Hispanic or Latino

1979

$537$543$499$463

1980

533538491456

1981

530535499460

1982

546553495463

1983

553557509471

1984

558564507469

1985

564572513468

1986

582588528482

1987

586594534485

1988

588593537485

1989

587597538481

1990

589601525474

1991

602613531480

1992

609620537484

1993

615628545490

1994

611625530467

1995

608621531457

1996

609624528461

1997

615633535454

1998

641658563474

1999

652665563479

2000

657669572488

2001

664677589503

2002

675698603506

2003

689708613$747512

2004

696710614745509

2005

688701587782505

2006

683694591796501

2007

680693590810524

2008

680697591803534

2009

703716623834545

2010

704720623814535

2011

698717607766529

2012

691710599770521
Footnotes:

 

(1) As of 2003, Asians constitute a separate category.

Asian women earned more than their White, Black, and Hispanic or Latino counterparts in 2012. White women ($710) earned 92 percent as much as Asian women ($770), while Black ($599) and Hispanic women ($521) earned 78 percent and 68 percent as much as Asians, respectively.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. Earnings data in this article are median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers. To learn more, see "Highlights of Women's Earnings in 2012,” BLS Report 1045 (PDF). Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Women's earnings, 1979–2012 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20131104.htm (visited August 01, 2014).

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