October 03, 2006
Between 1979 and 2005, the earnings gap between women and men narrowed for most major age groups.
The women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio among 16- to 24-year women, for example, rose from 79 percent in 1979 to 93 percent in 2005. The ratio for 25- to 34-year-olds rose from 67 percent in 1979 to 89 percent 26 years later.
The women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio among 35- to 44-year-olds rose from 58 percent in 1979 to 76 percent in 2005, and the ratio for 45- to 54-year-olds rose from 57 percent to 75 percent.
The earnings ratios for teenagers and for workers aged 65 and older, however, showed no consistent pattern over the period.
These data on earnings are from the Current Population Survey. The ratios in this article are based on median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers. For more information see "Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2005," BLS Report 995 (PDF 290K).