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In Puerto Rico, No Gap in Median Earnings Between Men and Women

Megan Wisniewski

The gender-based wage gap in the United States has narrowed in recent years, but disparities remain: national median earnings for civilians who worked full-time, year-round in the past 12 months was $53,544 for men compared to $43,394 for women, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey (ACS).

There are a multitude of factors that may contribute to earnings differences between women and men: age, number of hours worked, presence of children, and education. The types of jobs women and men hold, and the earnings difference among these occupations also contribute to gaps in overall earnings.

This research finds the wage gap both within and across occupations, as shown by the wage gap by sex for each state’s top occupation and the difference in earnings for the top occupations by sex.

A new visualization tool depicts the gender-based wage gap at the state level using 2019 ACS and 2019 Puerto Rico Community Survey data. The wage gap data visualization highlights the top occupation and the three top occupations for men and women for each state by count of workers.

Equal Pay Day — timed to represent how far into the year women must work to equal what men earned the previous year — is on March 15 this year. That’s earlier than it’s ever been since its inception in 1996. Last year, it occurred on March 24.

In 2020, women earned 83 cents to every dollar earned by men. In addition to Women’s History Month, it is an important reminder that the gender pay gap is narrowing but continues.

By highlighting the selected top occupations by sex at the state level, we can identify areas with different labor market opportunities based on gender in the United States. The data reflect the 570 occupations classified by the ACS.

Additional information specifies earnings and the percentage of workforce by sex for each state’s top selected occupations by count of workers. We also detail earnings by sex at the state level for those interested in the wage gap by sex, highlighting the difference between median earnings of men and women ages 16 years and older who worked full-time, year-round in the past 12 months.

State-Level Findings

  • Places with a wage gap above $15,000 included Wyoming, $21,676; Utah, $17,303; and the District of Columbia, $16,032.
  • Puerto Rico had the lowest median earnings for both men and women among the states and Washington, D.C.
  • Median earnings for men and women were most similar in Puerto Rico: $22,804 for men and $23,478 for women (not statistically different).

National Level Findings

  • The selected top occupations for men were driver/sales workers and truck drivers; managers, all other; and first-line supervisors of retail sales workers.
  • The selected top occupations for women were elementary and middle school teachers; registered nurses; and secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive.

To examine detailed occupations and the wage gap at the state level, simply click on the desired state. This brings you to a dashboard displaying information for that state’s selected largest occupation, and the selected largest occupations for male and female workers as well as wage gap information at the state level.

By analyzing top occupations by sex, we highlight occupational segregation within states and show how particular occupations have an overrepresentation of men or women. If you hover over the state geography, information about male and female median earnings and the wage gap at the state level reappear.



To the right of the state geography, information is provided for the selected largest occupation by the number of workers in the state. Hovering over the bar chart, you will see more detailed information about the state’s selected largest occupation including the full occupation title, the count of workers in the occupation, the percentage of workforce it comprises, male and female median earnings, and the wage gap for the selected top occupation in each state.

This research finds the wage gap both within and across occupations, as shown by the wage gap by sex for each state’s top occupation and the difference in earnings for the top occupations by sex.

Regional Price Parity Index

This tool also uses the regional price parity index created by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The BEA defines regional price parity as a price index that measures the geographic price level differences expressed as a percentage of the overall national price level. The regional price parity index allows comparison of buying power across the 50 states and the District of Columbia for a specific period of time within the United States.

By analyzing ACS data at the state geographic level, we can identify areas with large gender-based wage gaps and heavily gender-dominated occupations in the United States. To view the geography of the earnings wage gap by sex adjusted for regional price parity, click on the “Regional Price Parity” tab.

There was minor change overall in the wage gap at the state level after controlling for regional price parity. For example, the wage gap grew in South Dakota but remained relatively stable in Florida after controlling for regional price parity.


Megan Wisniewski is a survey statistician in the Census Bureau’s Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division.


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