Gender Pay Gap: Cities With the Largest and Smallest Income Inequality
This year, Equal Pay Day falls on Mar. 24, 2021. The day signifies the pay gap between men and women, showing how far into 2021 a woman has to work until she’s earned the same amount a man earned for the same work in 2020. The gender pay gap is genuine: In 2020, women earned 81 cents for every $1 a man earned. Women consistently earn less than men, and that gap widens when it comes to Black and Indigenous women and women of color.
First observed by the National Committee for Pay Equity in 1996, Equal Pay Day has become a useful tool in achieving gender pay equity. A new study conducted by MoneyGeek has found there isn’t just one Equal Pay Day, however.
There are stark Equal Pay Day disparities between cities and states. MoneyGeek has found that some cities have an Equal Pay Day that falls after or before the national day, making their individual pay gap less than the national average. In some cities, the gap is so wide, it would take more than an entire extra year for a woman to earn as much as a man did for the previous year’s work.
The Best and Worst Cities for Women’s Pay
Equal Pay Day is calculated by counting the number of days after Jan. 1 a woman would need to work in order to earn the same amount a man earned for the previous year.
Using data collected from the American Community Survey based on the median income for full-time workers for the past 12 months, MoneyGeek calculated the pay gaps of 40 cities and all 50 states. Starting at the beginning of 2020, MoneyGeek calculated the date which women would need to work to match a man’s 2020 earnings in each city and state.
The dates show some states fare better than others when it comes to equal pay for women in the workplace. In Cedar Park, Texas, where Equal Pay Day falls on Feb. 16, 2022, the pay gap is well over a year.
The study shows a few surprises — in some large cities like Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina and Chicago, Illinois, Equal Pay Day comes earlier than may be expected, making the pay gap smaller than average.
There are some cities where women do make more than men including Jacksonville, North Carolina; Skokie, Illinois and Alameda, California, but ultimately the gender pay gap is still very real.
15 Cities Where Women Make More
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- CityWomen's Income as % of Men's
- 1.Jacksonville, NC150%
- 2.Skokie, IL122%
- 3.Alameda, CA114%
- 4.Silver Spring, MD113%
- 5.Visalia, CA113%
15 Cities With the Largest Wage Gap
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- CityEqual Pay Day
- 1.Cedar Park, TX2/16/2022
- 2.Alpharetta, GA12/6/2021
- 3.South Jordan, UT11/19/2021
- 4.The Woodlands, TX11/12/2021
- 5.San Ramon, CA11/10/2021
Large Cities and Their Equal Pay Days
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- CityEqual Pay Day
- Austin, TX3/12/2021
- Charlotte, NC3/22/2021
- Chicago, IL2/10/2021
- Columbus, OH2/19/2021
- Dallas, TX1/30/2021
Equal Pay for Women and Technology
The MoneyGeek study finds that tech-hub cities like San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle and some high-profile suburbs have wider pay gaps than other large cities in the country.
In San Francisco, women's income as a percentage of men's is 79.3%, at a median earning of $80,163. San Jose's percentage of women's income is 76% at a median earning of $61,701 for women, and Seattle's percentage is 78.1% at a median earning of $71,733. Each of these cities' equal pay day is in the first three weeks of April, whereas in other large cities like New York, NY or Austin, TX, their equal pay day is in January and March, respectively. New York's percentage of women's income is 92% at a median earning of $55,195, and Austin's is 83.6% at a median earning of $50,242.
This may seem surprising, considering how visionary the tech industry is considered to be, but it is in line with research that shows more than half of women in this sector are paid less than their male counterparts.
Not only that, but the number of women in technology compared to men still has a large gap. National Center for Women Information Technology (NCWIT) reports in 2018, the number of women earning computer and information sciences (CIS) bachelor's degrees was 15,236, surpassing the historic peak of 13,733 set in 1985. The number continues to grow each year. In 2019, the number of CIS degrees women earned was 17,786, whereas the number of CIS degrees for men was 67,288.
Initiatives for Change
Understanding the income gap between men and women helps address the issue and move the country towards creating a workforce that better reflects the society in which we live. While much progress has been achieved in addressing the gender pay gap, there is still a long way to go. The COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted women’s earnings in the workplace. Armed with more information, women can better negotiate salaries for themselves and improve their financial standing when it comes to crucial wealth-building tools like life insurance and mortgage rates.
Ways Women Can Close the Gender Pay Gap
While the news that it takes longer for women to earn the same amount of money as men comes as no surprise to most women, what does come as a surprise is that in more than a few areas, it takes over six months longer to earn the same amount as men. While some lawmakers try to end pay disparity in the U.S. once and for all, there are some actions you can take right now to close the gender pay gap.
Negotiate your first salary
Many experts suggest you should always negotiate your salary, starting with your first job. This sets the tone for the rest of your career. Research the position and employer to be sure the compensation package is in line with what’s been previously offered, particularly in an industry where women are traditionally paid less.
Advocate and stay informed
Contact your congressional representatives to tell them to co-sponsor the current bills in Congress created to achieve equal gender pay. Since 2016, lawmakers have introduced at least 180 bills across the country aimed at minimizing the pay gap.
Join forces with other women
Find a group that helps provide women with the tools and support they need to help narrow the pay gap in their jobs. Women may lose out on pay by taking time away from work to care for children. Advocate for better child care choices, know and exercise your child care options and lean on others for support where you can.
Expert Insight on the Gender Pay Gap
MoneyGeek spoke with experts to dive deeper into how closing the pay gap benefits everyone, why there may have been few changes over the years and what we could do to help bridge the country’s pay gap.
- What can we expect to see if we close the pay gap? How would this benefit everyone, and in what ways?
- Since there is still a need to mark Equal Pay Day today, there have likely been very few changes over the years, even decades. Would you agree? If this is so, what is contributing to the lack of change when it comes to closing the gender pay gap?
- What initiatives can we create today, as individuals and as a collective, to help close the pay gap?
- When it comes to women in tech, the numbers are still fairly low. What do you think can be done to address this?
Director of the Institute for Social Science Research and Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Professor of Political Science and Former Director of the Women's Research Institute of the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV)
Executive Director of the Center for Employment Equity and Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Associate Professor at the School of Integrative Studies at George Mason University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences
To find the Equal Pay Day for each city, MoneyGeek analyzed data from the American Community Survey and used the median earnings for men and women who worked full time within the last 12 months to calculate the pay gaps for all cities. Using the beginning of 2020 as the starting point, the date which women would need to work to earn the equivalent to a full year’s earnings for a man was determined.
Full Data Set for Cities
Equal Pay Day
Women's Income as % of Men's
Women's Median Earnings
Cedar Park, TX
South Jordan, UT
The Woodlands, TX
San Ramon, CA
Sugar Land, TX
Mount Pleasant, SC
Johns Creek, GA
About the Author
- Hired.com. "The 2020 State of Wage Inequality in the Workplace." Accessed March 8, 2021.
- Institute for Women’s Policy Research. "Examining the Effectiveness of Pay Secrecy Laws in the U.S.." Accessed March 8, 2021.
- National Committee on Pay Equity. "Equal Pay Day." Accessed March 5, 2021.
- Payscale. "The State of the Gender Pay Gap." Accessed March 5, 2021.
- US Census. "2019 American Community Survey (ACS)." Accessed February 12, 2021.