October 16, 2003
Median weekly earnings for women who were fulltime wage and salary workers were $530 in 2002, or 78 percent of the $680 median for men.
The corresponding ratio was 76 percent in 2001. In 1979, the first year of comparable earnings data, women earned 63 percent as much as men.
Between 1979 and 2002, the earnings gap between women and men narrowed for most major age groups. The women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio among 35- to 44-year-olds, for example, was 75.4 percent in 2002, compared with 58.3 percent in 1979. The ratio for 45- to 54-year-olds was 74.6 percent last year, compared with 56.9 percent in 1979.
The earnings ratios for teenagers and for workers aged 65 and older, however, showed no consistent movement over the 23-year period.
These data on earnings are produced by the Current Population Survey. Earnings data in this article are median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers. More information can be found in "Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2002," BLS Report 972 (PDF 188K).