Earnings Inequality: Higher for Men and More Educated Workers

The latest data from the Current Population Survey for the third quarter of 2012  shows that full-time pay is more unequal among men than women.  A common measure of inequality is the ratio of full-time earnings of a worker just included in the top 10% of the pay distribution to the earnings of a worker just in the bottom 10% of the pay distribution.  Using this earnings ratio to measure inequality, the data show that:

  • Inequality is higher for more educated workers than for less educated workers
  • Inequality is higher for men than for women
  • Inequality is slighter higher in 2012 than it was in 2002

In the third quarter of 2012, the ratio of top 10% earnings to bottom 10% earnings was:

  • 4.57 for men and 3.69 for women with a graduate degree
  • 4.79 for men and 3.88 for women with a bachelor’s degree
  • 3.78 for men and 3.54 for women with some college
  • 3.77 for men and 3.36 for women with a high school diploma
  • 3.31 for men and 2.58 for women with less than a high school diploma

This measure of inequality in earnings is about 19% higher for men than for women.  Earnings inequality, measured this way, is 8.7% higher than in 2002 for men and 7.5% higher than in 2002 for women.

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