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State Wage Gap Data Show Little or No Improvement from 2008

The 2009 Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance in the United States data that was recently released by the Census Bureau show that in 2009, women who worked full-time, year round still made 23 cents less for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. This marks no change from 2008’s wage gap and amounts to nearly $11,000 per year in lost earnings.

The wage gap for women of color in 2009 was even more staggering than for women overall. When Black and Hispanic women work full-time, year round, they only make 62 and 53 cents, respectively, for every dollar their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts earn — this tiny amount is only a one cent increase over the 2008 earnings for Black and Hispanic women.

Additional state Census data released this morning show that in 2009, women working full-time, year round continued to earn less than their male counterparts working full-time, year round in every single state, although the wage gap among them varies. In 2009, women continued to fare best in the District of Columbia, which had the smallest wage gap of 88.2 percent, up .2 percentage points from last year. This 12 cent gap in wages was well ahead of the next best state, California, where women on average made 82.7 percent (down from the California percentage in 2008, which was 84.9 percent). The state with the worst wage gap, where women’s earnings represented only 65.5 percent of men’s earnings, was Wyoming, up less than one percentage point from 2008.

Overall, women in 20 states saw the wage gap between men and women widen. In Maine, for example, there was a three percentage point drop in the wage gap; women in this state earned only 76.7 percent of what men in Maine earned, down from 79.7 percent in 2008.

As the recession lingers on, women’s wages have never been more important: in 2009, 40 percent of women were the primary breadwinners for their families. Let’s prevent another year of bad news on the wage gap and ask Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.