Nationwide, women in the United States earn about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes, a trend known as the gender pay gap. It’s expected to cost a woman more than $10,000 in annual income this year alone and $1 million or more over a lifetime.
But women’s paychecks are better in some states than others, according to a recent analysis by the American Association of University Women.
The organization found that at the state level, gender pay gaps range from as wide as 70 cents for every dollar a man makes to as narrow as 89 cents.
The gender pay gap is narrowest in the following states:
- New York: Women’s annual earnings are 89 percent of those of men.
- California: 88 percent
- Florida: 87 percent
- District of Columbia: 86 percent
- Vermont: 86 percent
- Colorado: 84 percent
- Alaska: 84 percent
- Maine: 84 percent
- Maryland: 84 percent
- Hawaii: 83 percent
- New Hampshire: 83 percent
- Minnesota: 83 percent
These figures are for full-time, year-round workers age 16 and older. They are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (2010-15).
The gender pay gap is widest in:
- Louisiana: Women’s median annual earnings are 70 percent of those of men.
- Utah: 70 percent
- West Virginia: 72 percent
- Montana: 73 percent
- Oklahoma: 74 percent
- Indiana: 74 percent
- North Dakota: 74 percent
- Alabama: 74 percent
- Mississippi: 75 percent
- Idaho: 76 percent
The AAUW recently cited gender discrimination as “a significant cause of the pay gap.” The only two states without any equal pay or employment discrimination laws, Alabama and Mississippi, are among those with the widest gaps.
Protections can differ widely. For example, a protection that restricts retaliation or discrimination by employers for involvement in legal proceedings is found in 40 states. Other individual protections identified by the AAUW are found far fewer states, however.
The AAUW’s analysis has identified eight states as having “strong” equal-pay protections based on state laws. They are:
The organization considers 14 states to have “poor” protections:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina