Equal Pay Day 2024: Is the Pay Gap Real?

Multiple pay gaps exist in the United States, but the most commonly referenced pay gap is between men and women.
Anna Helhoski
By Anna Helhoski 
Edited by Rick VanderKnyff

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A pay gap is the difference between the earnings of one group and another. It’s usually referenced in the context of men’s wages versus women’s wages. But there are also pay gaps when measured by race and ethnicity, as well as sexuality and gender identity.

There are shorthands for the most stark differences among workers:

  • Gender pay gap: Men earn more than women.

  • Education pay gap: Those with college degrees earn more than those with lower educational attainment. 

  • Parent pay gap: For women, having children widens the wage gap, especially for those with higher education, according to a 2024 report by the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • Racial pay gap: White and Asian workers earn more than Black, Hispanic, multiracial and Native American/Native Alaskan workers. 

  • LGBTQ+ gender or gender identity pay gap: The “typical worker” earns less than LGBTQ+ workers, especially trans men and women.

Here’s a deeper look at the pay disparities outlined above.

What is the gender pay gap?

Women consistently bring home less money than men: In 2023, women earned 84 cents to every dollar men earned, according to a report by the Census Bureau released in 2024. And that gap hasn’t budged in about 20 years, according to Pew Research Center.

Among men and women who worked full time, year-round in 2022, the national median earnings wage gap was $9,990, with men earning a median of $62,350 and women earning a median of $52,360.

The wage gap widens when you look at each state individually. The states with the largest median wage gap between men and women include:

  • Utah: $25,028

  • New Hampshire: $18,821 

  • Washington: $18,757

  • Wyoming: $18,318

  • Massachusetts: $17,884 

The states where the smallest median wage gaps between men and women include:

  • Vermont: $7,459

  • New Mexico: $8.717

  • Nevada: $9,239

  • Arizona: $11,218

  • Maine: $11,273

What is the gender pay gap in your state?

Gender pay gap by education level

A gender pay gap also exists for women at lower levels of education. Among workers with less than a high school diploma, women earned $0.66 for every dollar earned by men, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.


Here are the most recent median earnings differences by degree, according to gender, as compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Wage inequities are stark when broken down by race or ethnicity, Department of Labor data shows. When compared with every dollar earned by white workers:

  • Hispanic/Latino workers earn 73 cents.

  • Black workers earn 76 cents.

  • Native American/American Indian workers earn 77 cents.

  • Multiracial workers earn 81 cents.

  • Asian-Pacific Islander workers earn $1.12.

What is the gender racial wage gap?

The gender pay gap is exacerbated further by the racial wage gap, according to data by the Government Accountability Office. When compared with every dollar earned by white men:

  • Hispanic/Latina women earn 58 cents.

  • Black women earn 63 cents.

  • White women earn 79 cents.

  • Asian women earn 97 cents.

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What is the LGBTQ+ gender or gender identity pay gap?

Gender and gender identity among LGBTQ+ workers also tends to affect earnings, according to a 2021 analysis of salary data by the Human Rights Campaign. LGBTQ+ workers tend to earn 90 cents for every dollar a typical worker (as in, full-time private and public sector nonfarm workers). According to the Human Rights Campaign data, when compared with every dollar earned by a typical worker:

  • Men in the LGBTQ+ community earn 96 cents.

  • Women in the LGBTQ+ community earn 87 cents.

  • Nonbinary, genderqueer, genderfluid and two-spirit workers earn 70 cents.

  • Trans men earn 70 cents.

  • Trans women earn 60 cents.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images News via Getty Images)

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