Knowledge Center

Earnings and Income of U.S. Women and Men

  • The median annual earnings for full-time, year-round women workers in 2012 was $37,791 compared to men’s $49,398.1
  • In 2013, the median weekly earnings for full-time working women was $706, compared to $860 for men.2
  • In 2013, the median weekly earnings for women in full-time management, professional, and related occupations was $973, compared to $1,349 for men.3
  • In 2012, full-time working married women with spouses present had median usual weekly earnings of $751, somewhat higher than never married women ($594) or women of other marital status (divorced, separated, or widowed - $735).4
  • In 2012, full-time working married men with spouses present had median usual weekly earnings of $981, significantly higher than never married men ($620) or men of other marital status ($815), or women of any marital status.5
  • In 2013, Asian women who were full-time wage and salary workers had higher median weekly earnings than women of all other races/ethnicities as well as African-American and Latino men.6

Wage Gap in the United States

  • Based on median annual earnings for full-time, year-round workers, women earned 76.5% of men’s earnings in 2012.7
  • Based on the median weekly earnings for full-time workers, (which excludes self-employed and full-time workers who work only part of the year), in 2013 women earned 82.1% as much as men.8
    • In 1979, women earned 62.1% as much as men.9
  • The earnings difference between women and men varies with age, with younger women more closely approaching pay equity than older women (2012, median weekly earnings), for full-time wage and salary workers.10
Age Groups Women’s % of Men’s Earnings
20-24 89.0%
25-34 90.2%
35-44 78.1%
45-54 75.1%
55-64 76.2%
65+ 77.6%



  • The gender wage gap also varies by industry. The biggest wage gap in the U.S. is in the Financial Activities industry, with women earning 70.5 cents for every dollar men make.12
  • Male doctors make 25.3% more than female physicians; this means male doctors make over $56,000 more than female doctors.13

Overall, Husbands Outearn Their Wives

  • 62.4% of husbands outearned their wives in married-couple families in which the wife had earnings.  This means that only 37.6% of wives outearned their husbands. This statistic is based on 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics data that looked at all wives with earnings. However, the husbands in this group included men who work as well as those who are retired, in school, on disability, unemployed, or without earnings.14
  • 71.9% of husbands outearned their wives among dual-earner couples.3   The percentage of wives who outearn their husband drops to 28.1% when we only consider married couples in which both partners have an income, called “dual-earner couples.” The vast majority of working wives (86.8%) have working husbands.15


  • Education is a factor in income – statistics show that higher degrees lead to higher median salaries. For full-time workers data below, men earn more than women in each category.16
Degree Median weekly earnings, women Median weekly earnings, men
Doctoral $1,371 $1,734
Professional $1,415 $1,836
Master’s $1,125 $1,515
Bachelor’s $930 $1,199
Associate’s $682 $880
High school graduate, no college $554 $720
  • Earnings for women with college degrees have increased by 28.5% since 1979 (on an inflation-adjusted basis) compared to a 17.4% increase for male college graduates.18

Earnings and Income of Canadian Women and Men

  • For full-time workers in 2013, women earned 82.4% of men’s earnings, based on average weekly wages. In 1997, the wage gap was 77.2% for full-time workers.19
Year Women's Earnings as a % of Men's Earnings for Full-Time Workers
1997 77.2%
2000 76.6%
2005 79.8%
2010 81.6%
2011 82.6%
2012 81.6%
2013 82.4%


  • For all workers, including full- and part-time, women earned 67.7% of men’s earnings in 2013, based on average weekly wages.21
  • In Canada, 18% of dual-earner wives are now their families' primary breadwinners when measured in hourly earnings, bringing in more than 55% of the household income.22
    • This is up from 14% in 1997.23

Gender Pay Gap Globally

  • Gaps in earnings of women and men vary from country to country. Korea and Japan have the highest gender wage gap, at 39% difference and 29% difference between women and men’s salaries. Hungary is the lowest with 4%.24




How to cite this product: Catalyst. Catalyst Quick Take: Women's Earnings and Income. New York: Catalyst, 2014.