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Women's Earnings Lower in Most Occupations

Amy Newcomb

Women continue to earn less than men in nearly all occupations, but this is more pronounced in fields that predominantly employ men and in professions with a comparable mix of men and women. The largest pay gap is within the finance and sales professions.

Overall, women are also more likely to be employed in lower-paying jobs.

“The pay gap has narrowed over the last 50 years,” said Lynda Laughlin, chief of the Industry and Occupation Statistics Branch at the U.S. Census Bureau. “However, the gender pay gap continues across the board in almost all occupations. In 2016, median earnings for women was $40,675, compared with $50,741 for men.”

Women's Earnings by Occupation


The data highlighted above comes from a recently released detailed table from the American Community Survey. It looks at the gender pay gap for more than 300 occupations.

Several health professions, such as physicians and surgeons, nurse anesthetists, and dentists, are among the highest-paying occupations for women. Pharmacists boast one of the lowest pay gaps between men and women. Full-time, year-round female pharmacists earned 97 cents for every dollar male pharmacists earned. Other professions, including finance and sales, show the largest wage gap between men and women.

“With an increased presence in the work force and higher levels of education being attained, women have been employed in a broader range of occupations," Laughlin said. "This has contributed to a decrease in the wage gap over time and to the economic well-being of women and their families.”

Amy Newcomb is a public affairs specialist at the Census Bureau.

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