According to a statistical analysis of state data by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), the poverty rate for children with a working mother would be cut by at least half in 14 U.S. states if women were paid the same as comparable male workers. Overall, the analysis finds that wage increases for working women would benefit 26 million children across the United States, and nationwide, equal pay for women would reduce their families’ poverty rate by more than half. Poverty would be reduced in every state.
Equal Pay Would Add Billions of Dollars in Wage and Salary Income to Each State’s Economy
Closing the gender wage gap would help many women and families, and particularly single women and mothers, achieve economic security. In each state and the nation overall—and for the men, women, and families who live in communities around the country—equal pay could provide a significant boost to incomes.
If all working women in the United States aged 18 and older were paid the same as comparable men, women’s average earnings would increase $6,870, from $38,972 to $45,842 (or 17.6 percent) annually (Table 2). Added up across all working women in the United States, this would amount to an earnings increase of $512.6 billion, or 2.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 (see Figure 2 for state-by-state data). Put another way, U.S. women—who are also consumers, savers, and asset owners—lost $512.6 billion in 2016 due to the gender wage gap.
• Larger state economies would also see a boost in wage and salary income from equal pay. If women were paid the same as comparable men in California, the state’s working women would have earned $55.5 billion more dollars, an earnings increase that, by itself, is greater than the entire economy of South Dakota ($48.1 billion). Similarly, women in Texas would have earned $43.6 billion more, which is much larger than the entire economic output of Vermont ($31.1 billion; Table 2).