Logo ipums


Publications, working papers, and other research using data resources from IPUMS.

2015. An Unlevel Playing Field.

Promoting fair pay and eliminating the gap between the wages of women and men in the United States is more important than ever. Women make up nearly half of the workforce1 and are breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of families with children.2 More than 15.2 million households are headed by women,3 and more than half of those women are single parents. 4 Put simply: Womens wages are essential to families and the economy. Yet women, especially women of color and mothers, continue to lose precious income to a pervasive, gender-based wage gap. This issue brief takes an in-depth look at the countrys gender-based wage gap for full-time, year-round workers. It examines what the gender-based wage gap costs women and families, its demographic and geographic prevalence, and in a new contribution to the literature on the impact of the wage gap the pronounced disparities suffered by mothers overall, single mothers and mothers of color. It then outlines several changes that lawmakers, employers and individuals should make to help level the playing field and pave the way toward the fair and family friendly workplaces the country urgently needs.