18 Shocking Wage Gap Statistics

By Milica Milenkovic

February 6, 2024

Pay discrimination has been illegal in the United States for over a century. However, wage gap statistics indicate that a persistent pay disparity between races and genders has been hurting the nation’s workers and the country’s economy.

When broken down by different additional factors, such as education, age, physical ability, sexual orientation, migration status, and so on, the wage gap can vary significantly. However, in each group, people of color – especially women – make less than their white male counterparts.

Before we move on to exploring pay discrimination in different contexts, it’s important to mention that pay equity can mean different things. The postulate “equal pay for equal work” is typically associated with the racial or gender pay gap. However, it should apply to all employees on both internal and external levels. Internal pay equity refers to pay equality within a particular organization, while external pay equity is when employees are paid fairly compared to the rest of the market. 

Wage Gap Statistics – Editor’s Choice

  • 60.2% of employers think compensable factors can explain all gender pay gaps in their organizations.
  • 76% of organizations believe that they pay their employees equitably to the market.
  • Women of all races earn 82 cents for every $1 earned by men of all races.
  • At the current pace, women won’t reach pay parity with men until 2059.
  • Female chief executives receive 76.8% of their male counterparts’ wages.
  • Asian women and men earn more than their white, black, and Hispanic counterparts on a weekly basis.
  • Women make up about two-thirds of the low-wage workforce in the United States.

According to wage gap statistics by race and gender, 46.2% of organizations intend to conduct pay equity analyses in 2021.


This percentage has been growing steadily year over year. Based on the results of a recent survey, 1.7% of employers plan to conduct racial pay equity analyses, 4.6% will look into gender pay equity, and 39.9% will analyze both gender and racial wage equity. However, 53.8% of survey respondents said they wouldn’t conduct any kind of pay equity analysis.

Based on US wage gap statistics, most employers (76%) believe that they pay their employees equitably to the market, at least for some job positions.


Most organizations have confidence that their employees receive a fair salary for their roles. To be exact, 49.2% of survey respondents said all of their employees enjoy external pay equity. Another 26.8% revealed that only workers in certain roles in their companies are paid fairly to the market based on job ranges or grades. Furthermore, 7.4% of employers said that their workers aren’t paid equitably to the market, although this doesn’t align with their company culture. On the other hand, 5.9% of employers communicated that they underpay intentionally. Lastly, according to wage gap statistics in the US, 10.7% of employers are unsure whether their workers receive a fair wage.

60.2% of employers think all gender pay gaps in their organizations can be explained by compensable factors such as licenses, skills, years of experience, and educational requirements.


Furthermore, 9% of employers admit they have a gender wage disparity they wish to remedy. On the other hand, 3.8% of organizations that took part in the survey revealed they have a gender pay gap they don’t want to fix. More than one-fourth (26.9%) of survey participants were unsure whether they have a gender pay gap in their organization. 

According to 62.1% of employers, compensable factors can clarify all racial pay gaps in their organizations. 


Additional racial wage gap statistics demonstrate that 5.1% of organizations are aware they have a racial pay gap and wish to remediate it. Another 1.7% of employees admit their organizations have a racial wage gap they don’t want to fix. It’s also important to mention that almost one-third of survey participants (31%) aren’t sure if there’s a racial income gap in their company. 

Based on 2019 wage gap statistics by race, Asian women and men earned more than their white, black, and Hispanic counterparts on a weekly basis.

(US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

According to wage gap statistics, among women, whites ($840) earned 82% as much as Asians ($1,025); Black women ($704) earned 69%, and Hispanics ($642) earned 63% as much. Differences in earnings were even more prominent for male workers: White men ($1,036) earned 78% as much as Asian men ($1,336); Black men ($769) received 58% as much, and Hispanic men ($747) earned only 56% as much.

78.3% of employers say they have women among their C-level executives. 


Moreover, according to 45.9% of PayScale’s survey respondents, racial minorities are represented in their C-suite.

March 24 is  Equal Pay Day, a day that symbolically represents the number of additional days women must work to earn what men earned the year before (on average). 

(Equal Pay Today)

Statistics on the pay gap indicate that this date may fall much later in the year for mothers and many women of color. In addition to gender and racial discrimination, several other systematic issues are at the root of lower salaries for working women, such as the absence of support for essential family care and the devaluation of “women’s” work.

According to the latest statistics on the wage gap, on average, women of all races earned 82 cents for every $1 earned by men of all races.

(Center for American Progress, US Census Bureau)

Taking the data provided by the US Census Bureau into account, this calculation is the ratio of median annual earnings for female year-round, full-time workers compared to those of their male counterparts, which translates to a gender pay gap of 18 cents. This 18% difference is the raw gender pay gap. It’s also important to mention that there are significant differences by race and ethnicity; the pay gap is even larger for women of color.

Based on 1979 data, the first year for which comparable statistics on the gender wage gap are available, women’s earnings were 62% of men’s.

(US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics gender wage gap data, the most significant growth in women’s earnings relative to men’s took place in the 1980s (when the women’s to men’s ratio went from 64% to 70%) and in the 1990s (when the percentage increased from 72% to 77%). Since 2004, this ratio has remained between 80% and 83%.

Wage gap statistics from 2018 demonstrate that a woman working full-time, year-round, earned $10,194 less than a man in the same position, on average. 

(Center for American Progress, US Census Bureau)

Once again, this difference is even more significant for black women ($23,540) and Hispanic women ($28,036). If this gender wage gap remained unchanged, women of all races would earn approximately $407,760 less than men of all races throughout a 40-year career, on average.

At the current pace, women won’t reach pay parity with men until 2059.

(Center for American Progress)

Due to the lack of comprehensive equal-pay reforms, the gender wage gap between men and women has only closed by 4 cents in more than a decade.

Women earn less than their male counterparts in nearly all occupations.

(U.S. Department of Labor)

Wage gap statistics indicate that there’s only a handful of job roles where women earn slightly more than men. The list of these occupations includes biological scientists and technicians, computer network architects, educational, guidance, career counselors and advisors, healthcare social workers, and event planners.

Gender pay gap statistics revealed that female chief executives receive 76.8% of their male counterparts’ wages. 

(US Department of Labor)

According to the data provided by the US Department of Labor, female CEOs earned a median annual salary of $120,635 while male CEOs received an annual pay of $157,133 in 2019.

Women working as credit counselors and loan officers receive only 68.1% of their male counterparts’ median annual wage.

(US Department of Labor)

Gender wage gap statistics from 2019 show that male loan officers and credit counselors receive a median annual pay of 80,064, while women in the same occupation get a median wage of $54,546 a year. 

Female judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers earn 30.4% less than men in the same occupations. 

(US Department of Labor)

Based on the 2019 data compiled and analyzed by the US Bureau of Labor, statistics on the wage gap indicate that female judges and other judicial workers earn a median annual salary of 88,720 while their male counterparts receive $127,453 annually.

Wage gap facts reveal that, even as women of color earn bachelor’s and graduate degrees, their wage gaps remain the same or even increase compared to white, non-Hispanic men.


Black women who obtained a high school diploma made 65.99% of what similarly educated white, non-Hispanic men earned. When they completed a bachelor’s degree in any field, that earnings ratio dropped to 65.14%. Hispanic women who graduated high school earned 66.78% of what white male high school graduates made on average. For those women who obtained an undergraduate degree, the gap widened to 62.73%.

Gender wage gap facts indicate that women make up about two-thirds of the low-wage workforce in the United States. 


Women make for 56.5% of all combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast-food workers, 87.6% of maids and housekeeping cleaners, 70.4% of all laundry and dry-cleaning workers, 92.7% of childcare workers, 72.9% of cashiers, 65.6% of waiters and waitresses, and 76.5% of hosts and hostesses, in restaurants, lounges, and coffee shops.

Women are paid less than men overall, as these jobs come with low wages. Additionally, such positions are generally less stable and unlikely to offer workplace benefits such as paid time off, health insurance, and sick leave.

As a consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak, women’s unemployment rate jumped by 12.8% between February and April 2020, compared to 9.9% for men.


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, more women than men have lost their jobs, mainly because there are more working women in industries that have shrunk in 2020, such as the hospitality and retail sectors.

The challenges of caretaking have also taken a significant toll on female workers’ lives. Many had no other option but to reduce their work hours, postpone advancement opportunities, or leave their jobs altogether to care for their children and relatives permanently at home.


Does the wage gap still exist?

Yes, it does. The pay gap still exists for various reasons, even after accounting for non-gender and non-racial worker characteristics. According to the latest pay gap statistics, women earn 82 cents for every dollar men make. This 18% difference is essentially the raw gender pay gap and one of the most obvious manifestations of gender inequality in America.

Is it legal to pay a woman less than a man?

No, it isn’t. In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, which made it illegal for organizations to offer lower salaries to women than men for equal work on job positions requiring the same responsibility, skillset, and effort. This act prohibits discrimination in employment based on gender and is frequently used in wage discrimination claims.

Why is there a wage gap between genders?

Many factors contribute to the gender pay gap in the US. Differences in salaries can be explained by occupational segregation (there are more women in lower-paid industries and more men in higher-paid industries) and vertical segregation (there are fewer women in senior and executive – better paying – positions). Other factors contributing to wage differences between genders include women’s overall paid working hours, the inability to enter into the labor market due to barriers such as single parenting rate and education level, and ineffective equal pay legislation.

Is the wage gap real in the US?

Despite the Equal Pay Act from 1963, the pay gap between men and women still exists in the US. According to wage gap statistics, disparities in pay relative to white men are largest for Hispanic women (58% of white men’s hourly earnings) and second-largest for Black women (65%), while white women earn 82% of their male counterparts’ median annual salary.

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