The gender wage gap is a topic of contention--some think we have a long way to go, while others think the who think is a myth.
In 1963, women earned 59 cents on average for every dollar earned by men. Today, the gender wage gap has shrunk to 79 cents to every dollar earned by men.
Although a lot of progress has been made, there still remains a significant disparity in how men and women are paid.
And that dispartiy varies greatly across America.
Which brings us to the reason for this report -- a deep dive into how the gender pay gap differs from state to state across America. There's a dramatic difference in the pay gap between residents of California, the state with the lowest gap, and Lousiana, the state with the highest gap.
The difference? A staggering 18.9 percentage points. That's essentially women earning a whole college degree worth more relative to men in California compared to Louisiana.
And to be clear, a smaller percent is worse.
Before we go into a state by state breakdown, here's a look at our methodology.
The definition used for the "wage gap" is women's earnings as a percentage of men's based on the median annual earnings of year-round, full-time workers. These earnings include wages, salaries, and self-employment incomes during the full calendar year.
If women's and men's earning were the same, the gender wage gap would be 0.
In order to determine who would be considered a full-time worker, we used the paradigm set by the United States Census Bureau, which defines year-round, full-time workers as those who worked 50 or more weeks during the previous calendar year and 35 or more hours per week during a majority of the weeks worked.
We then ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia from the biggest gender wage gap to the smallest gender wage gap (biggest gap is 'bad', smallest gap is 'good').
To get a better sense of the historical significance of the current wage gap, you can compare the wage gap changes these states have seen in the last decade plus. Furthermore, you can see if a state went up or down in ranking during that time.
Louisiana has the largest wage gap between men and women in the country.
The current gender wage gap in the Bayou state is 31.1%, which is only a tiny bit better than it was in 2010. The gender wage gap has shrunk by only 1% in the past decade, which means the state still has a long way to go in terms of equal pay between men and women.
In terms of its ranking as being the worst state when it comes to gender parity, it moved from the state with the second highest wage gap to the highest wage gap in America.
The state of Utah, most known for its beautiful scenery and its huge Mormon population has the second worst gender wage gap in the US.
The Beehive state's current gender wage gap is 29.8%, which means that for every dollar a man makes in Utah, women make 70.2 cents.
In the past decade, the state gender wage gap hasn't changed much at all. In fact, it went up by only 1.1%, which in the scheme of things isn't much better.
The third worst state in terms of the gender wage gap is West Virginia.
The state's gender wage gap is 29.1%, which is barely better than its 2010 gap which was 69.4%.
West Virginia was the first state to celebrate Mother's Day, but unfortunately, the state needs to do a lot better when it comes to celebrating the work done by women.
Wyoming can boast about a lot of great things--Yellowstone National Park, the first state to give women the right to vote, and home to the first national monument, Devil's Tower, but the state is lagging behind when it comes to equal pay.
Wyoming ranks 4th worst in gender wage gap--women make 71% of what men make in this state. However, the state can be applauded for the highest jump in wages for women in the past decade.
In 2010, women only made 36.2% of what men made. This is a good start, Wyoming.
Another midwesten state with the highest gender wage gap, North Dakota is the 5th worst in America. The gender wage gap in the state currently is 26.9%.
Not only is that worse than 90% of the states in the nation, this oil rich state hasnt made much improvement in closing the gender wage gap since 2010, when the gap was 28.2%.
Indiana is among the worst in paying men and women equal wages, and it ranks as the 6th worst in the country.
The state's gender wage gap went down from 28.3% in 2010 to 74%, but the Hoosier state needs to work harder in closing this gap.
Montana is in a tie with Idaho with a gender gap of 25.5%. The two states were almost identical even in their 2010 gender wage gap, when the Big Sky Country's gender wage gap was 27.9%.
A 2% closing of the gap isn't bad, but considering how many other states are doing better in terms of equal pay for women, Montana needs to move a quicker pace to bridge the gap.
The number nine state with the biggest gender wage gap is the state of Oklahoma.
The most current gender wage gap in the state is 25.5%, which is pretty bad. But what's worse is that the state best known for Route 66 has gotten worse in terms of the gender wage gap in the last decade. The 2010 gender wage gap in the Sooner State was 24.8%.
Seems like the state is moving in the opposite direction when it comes to equal pay between genders.
Next, we move on to Idaho, which has the 7th largest pay gap in the country. Idaho women make 25.5% of what Idaho men make, and that is lower than the national average of 21%.
The gap has gone down by a couple of percentages since 2010, when the gender wage gap was 27.8%, let's hope it goes down even further in the coming years.
Next is the state of Alabama, which ranks as the 10th worst in America in terms of gender pay gap--women here earn on average only 25.4% of what a man earns. That's actually a wee bit better than in 2010, when Alabama women earned about 73.3% of what men earned back in 2010.
The Yellowhammer State was also 10th worst for gender pay gap then, meaning things haven't changed much in almost a decade.
South Dakota also went backwards in the fight for gender pay equity, and barely missed being in the ten worst states in terms of gender wage gap.
The state known for the spectacular Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, and Custer State Park, needs to do more when it comes to bridging the gender wage gap.
The gender wage gap in this midwestern state was 76.4% back in 2010, and almost a decade later, it is 23.9%.
This Cornhusker state has hardly made much progress in the last decade in terms of the gender wage gap. In 2010, the gender wage gap in Nebraska was 23.8%, and it is only marginally better today--the most current gender wage gap is 23.2%.
The state that has produced the most U.S. presidents--eight--only avoided being in the ten worst states for gender pay equality by two spots.
Another state from the Deep South, Mississippi, has the 13th largest gender wage gap in the States.
Delicious foods like fried chicken, collards, and pies are things that the state is well known for, but, unfortunately, in the realm of gender wage gap, the state has quite a ways to go still. The current gender wage gap in the state is 23.1% which is better than it used to be in 2010, 73.5%, but women in this state still earn way less than men.
The state of Kansas has a gender wage gap of 77%, which is a little over 2% better than it was back in 2010.
Not bad, but still below the national average.
It is surprising to see that the state of Washington's gender wage gap is below the national average at 77%.
It has gone up by less than 2% in the last decade, which means something needs to be done differently.
New Hampshire is the only state in New England to score so poorly in terms of the gender wage gap.
It is the 16th worst state in America, right behind Washington state.
The next state with the biggest gender gap on our list is the Hawkeye state.
The current gender wage gap in Iowa is 77.2 percent. It has made some progress towards bridging that gap since 2010, when the state's gender wage gap was 75.8%. They are still almost 2% behind the national average, but at least the state is moving toward more gender wage equality.
Missouri, the state also known at the Ha Ha Tonka, isn't that haha-worthy when you look at the gender wage gap.
The state is still behind the national average in terms of briding the wage difference between men and women. In fact, women in the Show Me state made on average 78.1 cents to every dollar earned by men in the state.
Although Michigan is below the national average when it comes to the gender pay gap, it progress looks promising compared to many others.
In 2010, the gender wage gap in the state was 72.6, while currently, the gender wage gap is 22.2%, which is a 5% jump.
"Virginia is for lovers," the state boasts.
Turns out the state needs to work harder at making working women love them, as the state is still below the national average when it comes to the gender wage gap. This means that women in the state on average make less than women in other parts of the country.
Women in the state make 78.2 cents for every dollar a virginian man earns. This is better than what it used to be in 2010, but the progress has been slow.
South Carolina has the same gender wage gap as Ohio--21.8%.
It has made even less progress than Ohio, however, towards closing the gender wage gap. A decade ago, South Carolina women made 75.9% of the men in the state.
Ohio is next, and the state is also below average when compared nationally.
The current wage gap in the state is 21.8%, which is close to the natioanl average of 21%. The wage gap is up by 3.2% from 2010, when the gender wage gap in the state was 75%.
The land of Lincoln is surprisingly below the national average on gender wage gap, and hasn't made much progress in the last decade in narrowing that gap.
Illinois' gender wage gap currently is at 21.7%; it used to 75.2 a decade ago. Not much different.
Pensylvania, is the 25th state on our list, and it is right near the average national gender wage gap. The state has made a little bit of a progress, which is consistent with other states, but it still has a long way to go.
In 2010, women in Pensylvania made 75.3 cents for every dollar men made. Compare that to now, when women make 78.7 cents to ever dollar earned by men. 3 cents. Not much.
Kentucky is right isn't the best or worst when you consider the gender wage gap. The state best known for KFC, horses, and bourbon, can do better when it comes to equal pay for men and women.
The current gender wage gap in the Bluegrass state is 21.3%, which is lower than the national average of 21%. The last decade has seen a 3% gain in brigding the gender wage gap, which is not too bad.
America's Dairyland, Wisconsin, just barely crossed the national average threshold. The state's gender wage gap is 79.9 percent, which is only a little bit better than a decade ago. Maybe the next decade will be different.
The gender wage gap in Maine is at 79.6 percent right now, which is better than it was a decade ago, but in terms of its ranking, the state has gotten worse when you compare it to others in the nation.
Maine's gender wage gap used to 76.7% in 2010, so at least the gap is reducing.
The massive state of Texas needs to change something about the way they are working towards reducing the gender wage gap.
The current gender wage gap in the Lone Star state is 20.3%, which is right near the national average.
However, the gender wage gap in Texas has only shrunk by a miniscule amount of 0.4% in the last decade.
Next up is New Jersey, home to massive corporations like Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Honeywell, and also world class higher education institutions like Princeton and Rudgers.
New Jersey, surprisingly isn't don't great when it comes to bridging the gender wage gap, although it has made some progress in the last decade.
The current gender wage gap is 80.1%, which is only slightly higher than the national average, but it is better than it was back in 2010 when it was 76.9%.
This New England state has made some progress in reducing the gender wage gap--the current gender wage gap in Connecticut is 19.9% compared to 24.2% in 2010.
Alaska is 31st on our list of worst state in America when it comes to gender wage gap--Alaskan women make 80.4 cents for every dollar earned by men in the state--not too bad, but still a long way to go.
Compare that to what the wage gap for the state was in 2010--25.3%, and the state has made considerable progress in bridging the gender wage gap.
Let's hope they keep working on it.
Next on our list is Arkansas with a gender wage gap of 19.6%. Over the last decade, the natural state's gender wage gap has definitely improved.
In 2010, women in Arkansas made on average 75% of their men counterpart. Keep it going, Arkansas. Women in this state are doing better than more than half of the country in terms of bridging the gender wage gap.
New Mexico is a state filled with beautiful desert landscapes, and it is known as the Land of Enchantment, but it is not that enchanting when you look at their gender wage gap.
Although, its gender wage gap is above the national average--80% vs the national average of 21%, the state has a long way to go to attain equal pay for men and women.
The Volunteer State doesn't have the best numbers when it comes to gender wage disparity, but it's not the worst in that regard either.
Tennessee's gender wage gap is 19.3%, which is higher than the national average. It has also gone down by 3 % in the last decade.
This Pacific Northwest state is ranked much better than its neighboring northwestern state of Washington.
The state of Oregon's gender wage gap is at 19.1%--better than the numbers from 2010. It still has a long way to go to compare to its other neighbor, California, but it is moving in that direction.
The state infamous for the Salem Witch Trails has come a long way when it comes to women's rights, but it still has quite a distance to go.
The gender wage gap in the state of Massachusetts is 18.5%, which is a little better than what it was a decade earlier, 77.5%, but for a state with so much social activism, it can do better in terms of achieving equal pay regardless of gender.
Next up is Minnesota, the state of breathtaking national parks and Mall of America. Women in Minissota are doing better than those in a lot of states in the country, and they have made progress in the last decade, the state can do better to bridge the gender wage gap. The current wage gap in the Land of 10,000 Lakes is 81.6 percent, which is better than gender wage gap in 2010, which was 22.4%.
Georgia is next on our list, and the gender wage gap in the Peach State has gone down by almost 3% in the last decade. The current gender wage gap for the state is 18.4%, which is better than what it was in 2010--78.8%.
The state of Nevada is next isn't as bad as it used to be, and its current gender wage gap is 18.1%.
This is better than the numbers from a decade ago--a whole 4% better.
One of the most beautiful places in the world, Hawaii is also one of the most expensive places to live. Which means that women in the state need to make money just as bad as the men do.
Although not the best, Hawaii's gender wage gap is better than a lot of other states. Women in Hawaii make 82.2 cents to every dollar men in Hawaii make.
This is a little better than it was back in 2010, when women only made 79.4 cents to every men's dollar.
Colorado missed being in the top 10 by just 0.4%. The state is no. 11 when it comes to women's parity in wages, and it has come a long way since 2010, when Coloradan women made 78.4% of what men in the state earned.
Today, the gender wage gap in the Centinnial State is 17.7%.
The Tarheel State, is the only other southern state in the ten best states with the smallest gender wage gap, other than Florida, which is the fourth best. North Carolina is home to Research Triangle Park, a massive research hub of the south.
With Duke and UNC as university research centers, and Charlotte as a major banking center, it probably shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that the state has one of the smaller wage gaps between men and women--17.3%.
Almost a decade ago, in 2010, the women in the state made 80.2 cents for every dollar earned by men.
Another northeastern state that is among the top 10 states with the lowest gender wage gap, Rhode Island has gone from a gender pay gap of 78.7% in 2010 to a gender wage gap of 16.7% in the past decade.
The smallest state in the country, the ocean state can definitely improve upon these numbers, but they are moving in the direction of more equality when it comes to working men and women.
One of the smallest states in the country, the state known for its progressive, forward-looking politics, Vermont has the 8th smallest gender wage gap in the country--16.5%.
Since 2010, when the gender wage gap in the state was 81.7%, Vermont has made some progress in terms of narrowing the gender wage gap.
This southwestern state of Arizona, best known for the Grand Canyon, should also be known for being the 7th best state in the US for its gender wage gap--which is at 15.9%.
Compared to most other states in the country, Arizona is doing pretty well for itself, and it has consistently been pushing for more parity in wages. The state was at 19.3% in 2010.
The state of Maryland is next on our list, and the state has the 6th smallest gender wage gap in the nation.
The most current gender wage gap in the state is 15.4% which is an improvement from 2010, when the gender wage gap was 81.4%.
With a great selection of universities and companies to work for, the state can most certainly work towards bridging that gap even further.
Delaware is the 5rd best state in the country for working women--gender wage gap in the state is 14.9%.
The 2010 gender wage gap was 78.6%. This is significant progress that the state has made when it comes to equal pay.
Connecticut wasn't even in the top 10 best states when it came to the gender wage gap in 2010. That's a huge leap for the state.
Florida is the best southern state when it comes to equality of wages between genders.
The Sunshine State is working towards closing the gender wage gap it seems, as the gap has gone down from 81% to 14.6%. Plus, it has the fourth smallest gender wage gap in the country.
New York, the Empire State, makes it to the top 3 when it comes to the smallest gender wage gap in the country.
New York state has made significant progress in its attempts to close the gender wage gap. The current gender wage gap is 12.9%, and it has gone up 6% in the last decade. Keep up the fight, NY.
District of Columbia is the 2nd best state in the fight for equal pay for men and women in the country. However, the state's gender wage gap actually went up by a whole 1.2% in the last decade.
In 2010, DC women made 88.9 cents to every dollar earned by men. Compare that to the current data, and DC women, althougth being better off than most others in the country, make 87.7 cents to men's dollar.
The beautiful state of California is no. 1 on our list--it is the best state in America when you look at equality in wages for men and women.
Women here make on average 87.9 cents to every dollar earned by the men in the state. In 2010, California was no. 2, right behind the District of Columbia, when it came to the gender wage gap. In 2010, the gender wage gap in the state of California was 82.8%.
This is promising, but there is still significant disparity in the gender wage gap.
|50||District of Columbia||12.3%|
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