EQUAL PAY DAY 2018 By the Numbers


Equal Pay Day is the approximate day the typical woman must work into the new year to make what the typical man made at the end of the previous year. Based on ACS Census data, the 2018 wage gap between women and men is $.80 (cents). The gap is far wider for women of color as compared to White, non-Hispanic men and moms as compared to dads. Click on the links below for more information on equal pays days and contributors to the wage gap.

Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages.Since Census statistics showing the latest wage figures will not be available until late August or September, NCPE leadership decided years ago to select a Tuesday in April as Equal Pay Day. (Tuesday was selected to represent how far into the next work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week.) The date also is selected to avoid avoid religious holidays and other significant events.

Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color.


The gender wage gap has narrowed less than a percentage point in the last year, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Sept. 13, 2017. Based on the median earnings of all full-time, year-round workers in 2016, women now make 80.5 cents for every dollar men make, a change from 79.6 cents the previous year. Women’s earnings in 2016 were $41,557, while men’s were $51,640. Rounding off the figures shows women’s earnings still at 80 percent of men’s, the same as last year.

The wage gaps continue to be greater for women of color, with African American women earning just 63 cents and Hispanic women earning just 54 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men.   Asian American earned 87 cents, while white women earned 79 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. (Note: NCPE has previously compared the wages of women of color to the wages of all men. Other organizations, such as the National Women’s Law Center and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, compare the wages of women of color to the wages of white, non-Hispanic men, so NCPE also is adopting this practice. Therefore the comparison of the current figures with NCPE’s previous figures is not meaningful.) 

The loss in lifetime earnings is estimated to be about $530,000 for the average woman and $800,000 for college-educated women. About 30 percent of the narrowing of the wage gap since 1979 was caused by the decline in men’s wages.

The National Committee on Pay Equity’s The Wage Gap Over Time shows how little the wage gap has changed in this century.


Information shared with permission from the National Committee on Pay Equity.

Graphics created by AAUW and EqualPayForAll.org