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Seattle Times news librarian Gene Balk crunches the numbers

April 8, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Study: Seattle’s gender pay gap worst in the U.S.

Telephone operators in Seattle, 1952 (Photo:Seattle Municipal Archives)

Telephone operators in Seattle, 1952 (Photo:Seattle Municipal Archives)

There are some rankings in which you don’t want to be No. 1.

According to a new study, the Seattle area has the largest wage gap between women and men among 50 major metropolitan areas in the U.S.  The analysis, conducted by workplace-rights group National Partnership for Women & Families, found that full-time employed women in the Seattle area make just 73 cents for every dollar earned by men.  That amounts to a yearly salary discrepancy of $16,346.

Following Seattle as the metro areas with the largest wage gaps are Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Detroit, respectively.  A gender wage gap exists in every metro area studied, but the smallest gap measured is in the Los Angeles area, where women’s salaries are 92 percent of men’s.

Nationally, women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.  This gap has been closing since passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, but at a slow rate — less than half a cent per year.

The study, which is based on Census Bureau data for median full-time annual salaries, does not attempt to analyze the reasons behind Seattle’s large pay gap.

The Seattle wage gap is especially bad news for the 141,900 households in our area that are headed by women; 32,000 of those households are currently living below the poverty line.

According to the study, if the wage gap in the Seattle area were eliminated, each full-time working woman could afford to pay for:

  • Food for 2.3 more years.
  • 4,300+ more gallons of gas.
  • Eight more months of mortgage and utilities, or rent for 16 more months.

0 Comments | More in Government Data | Topics: income, women, work

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