A new report out this week found that women nationwide are narrowing the long-standing pay gap with men, but U.S. Census data shows that New Jersey women are still earning only a little more than three-quarters of what men are paid.
The report from the Pew Research Center found that, nationally, women age 16 and older typically earned about 84 cents for every $1 paid to men, or an average of $14.90 hourly compared with $17.79 for men. The gap was smaller among older women, ages 25-34, whose median pay equaled 93 percent of the median pay for men.
Pew used data for civilian full- and part-time workers with earnings, except for the self-employed, from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.
While women still earn less than men, they are doing much better than in 1980, when the median hourly wage for females was just 64 percent of that for men — $11.94 versus $18.57.
That was the good news. The bad news was that, if history is any indication, those women will find the pay gap widening, rather than closing, as they get older.
“Recent cohorts of young women have fallen further behind their same-aged male counterparts as they have aged and dealt with the responsibilities of parenthood and family,” wrote Kim Parker in the overview of the report, “On Pay Gap, Millennial Women Near Parity – For Now.” “For women, marriage and motherhood are both associated with less time spent on paid work-related activities. For men, the onset of family responsibilities has a reverse effect on their career.”
A look at a different Census data set for New Jersey paints an even darker picture.
According to the 2012 American Community Survey, full-time female workers age 16 and older in New Jersey earned a median $46,578 last year, 78.8 percent of the $60,435 median for males. That gap placed New Jersey roughly in the middle of the states and was exactly the same as the national average. Women had greatest parity in Puerto Rico, making 98 percent of the income earned by men. The biggest gap was in Wyoming, with women earning just 64 cents for every $1 paid to men.
Data for 2012 is not yet available for all municipalities. An analysis of ACS data averaged over the five-year period from 2007-2011 turned up 29 New Jersey towns where the typical woman actually earns more than the typical man. Atop the list was Rochelle Park in Bergen County, where women earned a median of $57,600, $1.27 for every $1 men received. The largest municipalities where women out-earned men were: East Orange, 19,395 workers, 107 percent; Plainfield, 17,382 workers, 105 percent; and Belleville, 13,302 workers, 102 percent.
On the other hand, there were 21 municipalities in New Jersey in which women earned less than half what men did. Many of these are among the state’s wealthiest communities, with Mantoloking at the very bottom – women earned $30,625, just 24 percent of the median man’s salary of $129,063. Women earned just about one-third of what men earned in Sea Girt, Saddle River and Teterboro.
Geographically, the pay gap tends to be most narrow in urban areas close to New York City (Essex and Hudson counties and widest in the suburbs (Sussex and Monmouth).
That may be due in part to women who have traded career advancement for family responsibilities. The Pew Report found that women are much more likely than men to interrupt their careers due to family obligations: More than half of mothers of children under age 18 said they have taken a “significant amount” of time off from work to care for a child or family member, compared with 16 percent of fathers. The mothers said taking time off hurt their career advancement chances, but that they had few regrets.
Salary Gap Data for New Jersey Counties by select sectors and occupations