Broadly speaking, American women get paid less than men—about 82 cents on the dollar. But there are some places in the US where the outlook on wage equality is brighter, at least for young women.
In 22 metropolitan areas, including New York, Washington DC, and San Diego, the median annual earnings of women under 30 are equal to or greater than that for men the same age, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. The report used data from the US Census Bureau to compare earnings for men and women between the ages of 16 and 29 who are full-time, year-round workers.
That said, it’s hardly time to start popping the gender-parity champagne. The report examined the gender pay gap in a total of 250 metropolitan areas, which means that in the vast majority of US cities, young women are still making less than their male counterparts—about 93 cents on the dollar, on average.
Why younger women have better pay parity
Still, it’s noteworthy that the wage gap between men and women under 30 is smaller than it is for men and women in the US as a whole.
While the Pew report doesn’t delve too deeply into the reasons behind the discrepancy, it does note that pay parity “tends to be greatest in the first years after entering the labor market.”
As women get older and begin having kids, they often take on the bulk of childcare responsibilities, which leaves them with less opportunity to climb the career ladder. Gender discrimination means that the “motherhood penalty” can impact childless women too, since employers may expect women in their 30s to have kids soon, and penalize them accordingly.