Changing America

Young women are closing the gender wage gap in some U.S. cities, research shows

About 16 percent of all women under the age of 30 who are working full time, year-round live in the 22 metro areas where women are at or above wage parity with men.
a group of women in an office
California’s “woman quota” for boards and commissions is expanding to include members of “underrepresented communities.” iStock

Story at a glance

  • Pew Research published results of a national wage analysis using Census Bureau data.

  • Women under the age of 30 tend to earn the same amount as or more than their male counterparts. 

  • New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles were among the metropolitan areas where young women earn the most relative to young men.

Though nationally women still earn 82 cents for every dollar a man makes, new data indicates younger women are now making strides in closing the gender wage gap in select cities across the country.

Pew Research published an analysis of Census Bureau data that found the gender wage gap is narrower among younger workers nationally and that the gap varies across geographical areas. In 22 of 250 U.S. metropolitan areas, women under the age of 30 earn the same amount as or more than their male counterparts. 

Overall, about 16 percent of all young women who are working full time, year-round live in the 22 metro areas where women are at or above wage parity with men. 

New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles were among the metropolitan areas that Pew Research identified where young women are earning the most relative to young men. In both New York and Washington metro areas, women earn 102 percent of what young men earn when examining median annual earning among full-time, year-round workers. 


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The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metro areas showed the median earnings for men and women under the age of 30 to be identical in 2019.  

Other metros where women younger than 30 out-earn their male counterparts are Wenatchee, Wash., at 120 percent; Morgantown, W. Va., at 114 percent and Barnstable Town, Mass., at 112 percent. 

Pew also found there were 107 metro areas where young women earn between 90 percent and 99 percent of what young men earn — nearly half, 47 percent, of young women lived in these areas in 2019. 

The wage gap varies from a regional perspective too, with Pew finding the Midwest tends to have a wider gap than other parts of the country, with young women working full time, year-round earning about 90 percent of their male counterparts.  

Other regions, like the Northeast, South and West metros, young women earn 94 percent or more of what young men earn.  

Nationally, women under the age of 30 who work full time, year-round earn about 93 cents on the dollar compared to men in the same age range.  

However, Pew Research noted that historically women haven’t maintained their wage gains as they age, with women aged 16 to 29 earning 88 percent of a similar man in 2000. By 2019 when those same people transitioned to the ages of 35 and 48, women earned only 80 percent of the male peers. 


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