Earnings by educational attainment and sex, 1979 and 2002
October 23, 2003
Women with less than a high school diploma earned $323 per week in 2002, compared with $809 for those with a college degree.
Among men, high school dropouts had earnings of $421 a week, compared with $1,089 for college graduates.
At all levels of education, women have fared better than men with respect to earnings growth over the 1979 to 2002 period.
Although both women and men with less than a high school diploma have experienced a decline in inflation-adjusted earnings since 1979, women’s earnings have fallen significantly less—from $348 to $323 (down 7.2 percent), compared with a 27.2 percent drop from $578 to $421 for men.
Earnings for women with college degrees have increased by one-third from $605 to $809 since 1979 on an inflation-adjusted basis, while those of male college graduates have risen by only one-fifth from $908 to $1,089.
These data come from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see "Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2002," BLS Report 972 (PDF 188K). Earnings data in this article are annual average median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers 25 years of age and older expressed in constant 2002 dollars.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Earnings by educational attainment and sex, 1979 and 2002 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2003/oct/wk3/art04.htm (visited February 25, 2017).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
STEM occupations: past, present, and future
A look at employment and wages in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics occupations.
Workplace injuries and illnesses and employer costs for workers’ compensation
Workplace injury and illness data and the costs to employers for workers’ compensation in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations.
A look at the future of the U.S. labor force to 2060
Projected long-term trends in the growth, size, and composition of the labor force.
Union membership in the United States
Historical trends in union membership among employed wage and salary workers; union membership by a variety of demographic characteristics.