If trends continue, Wyoming will close its gender wage gap last out of all 50 states – in the year 2159. That’s based on historical wage data from between 1959 and 2013 analyzed by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
Julie Anderson, a research associate at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, said, unlike much of the country where wage growth has been relatively stagnant, men’s salaries in Wyoming have been on the rise.
“The reason Wyoming is so far out, it’s actually more than 50 years after the next to last state, so it’s really way out there on its own. [That] does have to do with the fact that instead of men’s wages staying the same while women’s creep up a little bit, the bar keeps going up for men [in Wyoming], making it harder and harder for women to catch up,” said Anderson.
Anderson says the downturn in the energy industry could reverse that trend somewhat if layoffs continue.
“It would close the wage gap but I don’t know that really that would be to the benefit of anybody,” she said. “I mean we, of course, want the wage gap closed but not because we want anybody’s wages dropping,” said Anderson
Women in Wyoming earn 67.9 cents to a man’s dollar, and rank 49th for wage equality among all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Anderson also said millennials tend see a smaller gender wage gap nationwide, but millennial women in Wyoming see the largest wage gap in the country at 72 cents to the dollar.
“Which is not necessarily a good sign in that, you know, people haven’t made all the sorts of choices that might impact their earnings at that point. They’re still young people, [and] in many cases do not yet have all the family and caregiving responsibilities,” Anderson said.
Anderson says increasing paid family leave could improve the gender pay gap.