Gender Pay Gap: 72% of Six-Figure Earners Are Men - MagnifyMoney
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72% of Six-Figure Earners Are Men, While 57% of Workers Earning Less Than $25,000 Are Women

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It’s no secret that women earn less than men. According to the newest MagnifyMoney study on the gender pay gap, women are disproportionately represented in the lowest income tier and underrepresented in the highest.

In fact, 72% of workers who earn six-figure salaries or above are men, while 57% of workers who earn less than $25,000 a year are women. This is according to an analysis of the latest available U.S. Census Bureau data.

“Women are always playing catch-up,” says Ismat Mangla, executive editor at MagnifyMoney. “They bear the brunt of low-wage jobs, and those low wages translate to a lifetime of being behind when it comes to building financial security.”

Key findings

  • 72% of workers who earn six figures or above are men. For every woman who makes at least $100,000, 2.5 men do. The percentage continues to rise as you move up the income ladder, with 78% of $200,000-plus earners being men.
  • The highest disparity among workers who earn at least six figures is in Utah. 85% of six-figure earners in the state are men, compared with 15% who are women. The lowest disparity is in the District of Columbia, where 57% of six-figure earners are men, compared with 43% who are women.
  • 57% of workers who make less than $25,000 are women. Even though the male workforce is 11% larger than the female workforce, there are millions more women than men in this lowest income tier. 40% of female workers make less than $25,000, compared with 27% of male workers.
  • The highest disparity among workers making less than $25,000 is in Louisiana. 60% of workers in the state below that income threshold are women, compared with 40% who are men. The lowest disparity is in Alaska, where 54% of workers under that income threshold are women, compared with 46% who are men.

72% of workers earning at least six figures are men

Traditional gender pay gap studies tend to focus on the average or median worker. These studies are usually framed with a statistic that indicates how many cents a woman earns, on average, compared to every dollar a man earns. While they illustrate the broad income disparities between men and women, they don’t show how the gender pay gap manifests at different income tiers.

The gender pay gap, according to the new MagnifyMoney study, is widest among high-income workers. Breaking it down:

  • 72% of those who earn at least $100,000 are men, while 28% are women
  • 73% of those who earn at least $150,000 but less than $200,000 are men, while 27% are women
  • 78% of those who earn at least $200,000 are men, while 22% are women

“The highest earners in our society are men, which means that they are able to build wealth for the long haul,” Mangla says. Men tend to have more money stashed away than women, in large part due to the gender pay gap.

Looking at the gap differently, 16% of male workers earn at least six figures, compared with 7% of female workers. And 4% of men land above the $200,000 income threshold, compared with 1% of women.

Some states have wider gender pay gaps than others, especially when looking at the high end of the income scale. The statistical distribution of the gender pay gap is much wider at the state level for workers earning at least six figures than it is for those earning $25,000 or less. Here are the states with the biggest gaps among workers who earn $100,000 or more:

  • Utah: 85% men, 15% women
  • Wyoming: 83% men, 17% women
  • North Dakota: 82% men, 18% women
  • Idaho: 81% men, 19% women
  • Louisiana: 80% men, 20% women
States with the biggest gender disparities among six-figure earners
RankStateNumber of men earning at least $100,000Number of women earning at least $100,000Percentage who are men
U.S.12,560,9174,991,13071.6%
1Utah119,09921,08285.0%
2Wyoming19,0784,01282.6%
3North Dakota31,2536,66682.4%
4Idaho44,13010,26481.1%
5Louisiana144,84235,40580.4%
6Oklahoma104,70128,13578.8%
7Montana26,7227,30778.5%
8South Dakota22,0826,10578.3%
9Alabama128,93436,38278.0%
10Mississippi55,94215,97277.8%
11Kansas92,63126,63777.7%
12Nebraska56,03716,47577.3%
12Indiana188,06955,36777.3%
14Iowa93,27027,77777.1%
15West Virginia38,81211,70076.8%
16Michigan333,115106,01775.9%
17Alaska31,77210,14875.8%
17Texas1,106,823353,60075.8%
19New Hampshire68,67422,28375.5%
20South Carolina128,48642,18075.3%
21Arkansas63,82521,00575.2%
22Ohio344,437117,77874.5%
23Tennessee182,96562,90374.4%
24Wisconsin169,71658,60574.3%
25New Mexico48,28717,04773.9%
25Kentucky100,59835,57673.9%
27Missouri174,81561,90473.8%
28Washington391,971142,77373.3%
29Arizona216,79279,72173.1%
30Florida583,024217,77672.8%
30Colorado265,58499,37272.8%
32Pennsylvania462,800173,77872.7%
33North Carolina309,018117,11472.5%
34Georgia354,352136,32972.2%
34Nevada82,83531,89572.2%
36Illinois555,563218,34671.8%
37Oregon144,34957,34771.6%
38Rhode Island38,91915,53971.5%
39Minnesota234,32794,12071.3%
40Maine32,35313,52770.5%
41New Jersey568,607238,65970.4%
42Connecticut203,86187,53170.0%
43Delaware34,05014,86969.6%
44Virginia440,803196,01469.2%
45Massachusetts419,098195,08868.2%
46California1,927,090909,13067.9%
47Hawaii43,83820,89167.7%
48Vermont16,4667,91767.5%
49New York918,406478,18365.8%
50Maryland340,570183,17465.0%
51District of Columbia57,12643,70556.7%
Source: MagnifyMoney analysis of 2019 American Community Survey microdata.

As the chart shows, even in states with the smallest gender pay gaps at the highest end of the income scale, there still isn’t parity. In every state (and D.C.), more workers who earn $100,000 or more are men. Here are the states with the smallest gender pay gaps among high-income workers:

  • District of Columbia: 57% men, 43% women
  • Maryland: 65% men, 35% women
  • New York: 66% men, 34% women
  • Vermont: 68% men, 32% women
  • Hawaii: 68% men, 32% women

57% of workers earning less than $25,000 are women

Even though there are 11% more men than women in the workforce, more women (28.6 million) earn less than $25,000 a year than men (21.5 million). In every state and D.C., there are more women earning less than $25,000 than there are men.

In the next income tier — workers who make at least $25,000 but less than $50,000 — the gap is narrower: 51% of those workers are men, while 49% are women.

The gender distribution among workers earning less than $25,000 isn’t as stark — but it’s still prominent, nonetheless. In six states, the biggest gap among workers who earn $25,000 or less is 20 percentage points (60% women, versus 40% men). This makes it exponentially harder for women to put more money in their savings accounts.

States with the biggest gender disparities among lower-earning workers
RankStateNumber of women earning less than $25,000Number of men earning less than $25,000Percentage who are women
United States28,570,26921,470,81057.1%
1Louisiana449,457295,28260.4%
2Indiana646,349427,92360.2%
3Wyoming55,87037,26960.0%
4Maine129,74586,93859.9%
5Massachusetts567,839385,03659.6%
5Iowa308,276209,33659.6%
7Wisconsin562,804386,52259.3%
8Ohio1,100,541761,03959.1%
8Pennsylvania1,131,098782,52059.1%
10Alabama451,373313,33459.0%
10Mississippi278,884193,63259.0%
10New Hampshire118,83782,58859.0%
13Kansas285,168199,39058.9%
14North Dakota68,00347,60258.8%
15Connecticut288,343202,82158.7%
15Idaho179,402126,20458.7%
15Michigan948,741667,07658.7%
18South Dakota83,84959,21458.6%
19Illinois1,131,473803,26458.5%
19Nebraska189,930134,99258.5%
21Virginia714,987508,84058.4%
22Utah317,111226,57658.3%
22Minnesota494,453354,07158.3%
24Washington574,649412,27058.2%
24South Carolina474,459341,33758.2%
26West Virginia157,038113,28058.1%
27Missouri576,825417,75158.0%
27Vermont61,07344,26158.0%
29New Jersey697,070508,57957.8%
30Rhode Island89,67165,90457.6%
30Oklahoma368,701271,60057.6%
30Delaware77,64957,26557.6%
33Kentucky405,123299,36457.5%
34Georgia932,388691,61557.4%
35Maryland452,957336,89957.3%
36District of Columbia40,85230,70357.1%
37Arkansas278,417210,03457.0%
38North Carolina941,309712,56656.9%
38Oregon375,237284,30956.9%
38Tennessee620,255469,72356.9%
38Colorado484,514367,75356.9%
42New York1,551,1511,198,77456.4%
43Montana108,19784,59556.1%
44New Mexico198,818156,67655.9%
45Texas2,521,5212,006,60655.7%
46Hawaii108,00686,78955.4%
47Florida1,891,1901,555,64854.9%
48Nevada243,056205,33654.2%
48Arizona577,914489,24154.2%
50California3,207,9302,716,31754.1%
51Alaska51,76644,14654.0%
Source: MagnifyMoney analysis of 2019 American Community Survey microdata.

Here’s a breakdown of the states with the smallest gender pay gaps among these lower earners:

  • Alaska: 54% women, 46% men
  • California: 54% women, 46% men
  • Arizona: 54% women, 46% men
  • Nevada: 54% women, 46% men
  • Florida: 55% women, 45% men

Gender pay disparities in each income bracket

Aside from the lowest income bracket (less than $25,000), there are more men than women in every other income bracket. The gap widens at each tier, as the percentage of men is successively higher for those making at least $25,000 but less than $50,000, at least $50,000 but less than $75,000 and so on.

At the highest income bracket included in this MagnifyMoney study — workers who earn $200,000 or more — 78% of workers are men, meaning that there are 3.6 men for every woman who makes at least that amount.

Fighting the gender pay gap

There are several structural reasons why men tend to earn more than women, especially sexism in the workplace. Even when men and women have the same level of experience and same job responsibilities, pay equity is never guaranteed.

The onus for closing the gender pay gap falls on employers and policymakers who can create structural change.

“Raising the minimum wage and instituting pay transparency could go a long way toward leveling the playing field,” Mangla says.

So what steps can women take?

“The problems are structural, but it always makes sense for women to do their research on compensation in their field so they can be armed with information when it comes to negotiating,” Mangla says.

However, Mangla says negotiating for a fairer wage can sometimes backfire.

“Women are often penalized for trying to secure higher wages, so they should be aware of this before negotiating,” she says.

Methodology

Analysts used microdata from the U.S. Census Bureau 2019 American Community Survey (five-year estimate) to count the number of actively employed men and women in each state who reported individual, annualized earnings within the following bands:

  • Less than $25,000
  • $25,000 to $49,999
  • $50,000 to $74,999
  • $75,000 to $99,999
  • $100,000 to $149,999
  • $150,000 to $199,999
  • $200,000 and higher

The final three bands were summed to count men and women who earned more than $100,000. Analysts also calculated the percentage of male and female active workers who fell within each band.