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March 16, 2001
Education Gap Between Sexes Narrows; Pay Gap Still Wide
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gap between the percentage of men and women with college degrees has narrowed but women still only earn 72 percent of men's earnings, according to new estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week.

About 28 percent of American men have completed degrees, compared to 24 percent of American women, according to annual U.S. Census report on the status of women. In 1970, 14 percent of men were college educated, compared to 8 percent of women. "There has been important growth in educational attainment for women," Renee E. Spraggins, author or the report, told the Los Angeles Times.

Despite the narrowing education gap, women still continue to be concentrated in comparatively lower paying jobs, the Times reported. Among all full-time workers in 1999, women attained median earnings of $26,300, equal to 72 percent of men's median earnings of $36,500.

Women with college degrees earn 69 cents on the dollar compared to earnings by men with college degrees. College educated women had median earnings of $34,408 compared to $49,982 for college educated men.

The Census Bureau cautioned that the new estimates should not be confused with Census 2000 results, which are scheduled for release over the next three years.

Other highlights:
  • Most women have a high school diploma. In fact, at 84 percent, the high school completion rate for women age 25 and over equals the rate for men. Additionally, 24 percent of women had a bachelor's degree or higher, somewhat lower than the 28 percent of men who did.
  • Among young adults ages 25 to 29, women typically were better educated than men (30 percent had at least a bachelor's degree, compared with 28 percent for men).
  • Women are concentrated in three different occupational groups. About 6 in 10, (58 percent) of employed women age 16 and over worked in administrative support, including clerical (24 percent), professional speciality (18 percent) and service, except private household, jobs (16 percent).
  • In 1999, 13.2 percent of females and 10.3 percent of males were in poverty.
  • The majority of our nation's residents are female. Females outnumbered males, according to 2000 estimates, by 6 million 140 million to 134 million. The male-to-female ratio declines with age.
  • In 2000, the male-to-female ratio was 105 males for every 100 females for the population under age 20, 98 for ages 20 to 44, 95 for ages 45 to 54, 91 for ages 55 to 64, 83 for ages 65 to 74, 70 for ages 75 to 84 and 50 for ages 85 and over.
  • About one-half of women 15 years and over (51 percent) were married and living with their spouse, 25 percent had never married, 13 percent were divorced or separated and 10 percent were widowed. The majority of women (61 percent) 16 years and over were in the civilian labor force; 74 percent of men were.

Statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and non-sampling error. The Current Population Survey uses the 1990 census as the base for its sample.

  • Click here to read the complete story in the Los Angeles Times.
  • Visit the U.S. Census Bureau's Web site.

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