Young Single Women Now Earn More Than Men

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Young single women are earning more than their male peers in metropolitan areas around the U.S., according to an analysis of Census Bureau data released Wednesday by Reach Advisors, a consumer-research firm in Slingerlands, N.Y., The Wall Street Journal reported.

While women in general and at every education level still earn far less than men, younger women have jumped ahead of their male counterparts. For example, between 2006 and 2008, the median salary for a woman with a bachelor's degree was 33% lower than the salary of a man with the same degree: $39,571 compared to $59,079. But single, childless women between the ages of 22 and 30 earned on average 8% more than men in that age range in most U.S. cities in 2008.

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This trend, which was identified several years ago in the country's biggest metropolises, has now broadened to smaller cities and more industries, especially in areas with blue-collar hubs and growing areas with large immigrant populations.

The shift is being driven by growth in the percentages of women compared to men who attend college and move on to high-earning jobs, The Wall Street Journal said. Between 2006 and 2008, 32.7% of women between 25 and 34 had a bachelor's degree or higher, compared with 25.8% of men. Meanwhile, men have been disproportionately hit by heavy job losses in blue-collar industries.

Atlanta boasted the greatest disparity in pay, with young, childless women paid 121% of what their male counterparts earn, according to Reach Advisors. But that's still far less than the 150% of women's pay that men with bachelor degrees were getting.

The trend might offer some hope that one day, the gender gap in pay could disappear, but as the report points out, women's wages tend to stagnate after they give birth. Until that changes, and until the glass ceiling is eliminated, giving women something close to parity with men in high-level positions, this small slice of data is unlikely to be indicative of a larger, penetrating trend.
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