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Census updates wage gap estimate to 22 cents

Hooray! It's just a little closer to how much that guy in the next cubicle earns. Only not really.
Hooray! It's just a little closer to how much that guy in the next cubicle earns. Only not really.
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That women in the US make 77 cents for every dollar men make is a popular political talking point. But according to figures released by the Census Bureau on Tuesday, the number has creaked up to 78 cents. That's what the median full-time, full-year working woman earns for every dollar earned by the median full-time, full-year man.

The median woman working full-time and year-round now earns $39,200, compared to a man's $50,000.

Wage gap slide

Source: US Census Bureau

After hearing that 77 percent figure dominate political fights over the wage gap in recent years, it feels like a meaningful improvement. But it's not time to celebrate just yet. That 78 percent figure (78.3 percent, to be more exact) is not statistically different from the 2012 estimate of 76.5 percent. And, really, celebrating a 22-cent pay gap wouldn't make much sense anyhow. After all, the wage gap was 76.5 percent in 2004, where it was in 2012, according to data from the Institute for Women's Policy Research. That means it has barely budged for almost a decade. And according to the Census' report, the ratio of women's to men's pay hasn't had a significant annual bump since 2007.

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