Economic snapshot | Wages Incomes and Wealth

One-third of women workers earn poverty wages

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A weekly presentation of downloadable charts and short analyses designed to graphically illustrate important economic issues. Updated every Wednesday.

Snapshot for November 22, 2000

One-third of women workers earn poverty wages

The share of workers earning a poverty-level wage or lower (defined as the hourly wage a worker needs to lift a family of four out of poverty, equal to $8.19 an hour in 1999) grew over the 1980s and early 1990s, driven primarily by the growing share of men earning these low wages. After 1995, the share on both male and female workers earning poverty wages fell.

Share of workers earning poverty-level wages, 1973-99
Share of workers earning poverty-level wages, 1973-99

Women are much more likely to earn low wages than men. In 1999, 33.4% of women earned poverty-level wages or less, significantly more than the share of men (20.7%). Women are also much less likely to earn very high wages (not shown above): in 1999, only 7.8% of women, but 15.8% of men, earned at least three times the poverty-level wage.

From The State of Working America 2000-01, Chapter 2, “Wages.”

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