Oregon Women’s to Men’s Earnings Ratio Below National Average

  • In 2011, Oregon women had median weekly earnings of $701 or 79.9 percent of the $877 median weekly earnings of men
  • Nationwide, women earned $684/week or 82.2 percent of the $832 median for men
  • At 79.9 percent, women’s earnings as a percent of men’s in Oregon ranked 30th in the nation out of 50 states and the District of Columbia
  • Women’s weekly earnings in Oregon ranked 17th, and men’s 16th, nationwide


In 2011, Oregon women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median weekly earnings of $701 or 79.9 percent of the $877 median weekly earnings for their male counterparts, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that the women’s to men’s earnings ratio in Oregon increased 0.3 percentage points from the previous year. Nationwide, women earned $684 per week or 82.2 percent of the $832 median for men. (See table 1. Earnings in this report do not control for many factors that can be significant in explaining earnings differences.)

In Oregon, the ratio of women’s to men’s earnings has ranged from a low of 72.2 percent in 1998 to a high of 82.4 percent in 2006. The ratio has been generally trending upwards over the past decade.

Among the 50 states, median weekly earnings of women in full-time wage and salary positions in 2011 ranged from $564 in Montana to $878 in Connecticut. States with the highest wages for women were located along the Eastern Seaboard. In addition to Connecticut, women’s earnings in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maryland were also above $800, followed by New York at $760 per week.

Across the nation, median weekly earnings for men were lowest in Arkansas at $675 and highest in Connecticut at $1,106. Four of the five highest-paying states for full-time male workers (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Hampshire) were located along the Northeast coastline. The sole exception was on the West Coast – Washington.

The ratio of female-to-male earnings in 2011 varied across the nation, ranging from 68.7 percent in Louisiana to 89.9 percent in California. (See table 1.) Two other Western states followed California in the ranking—Arizona at 88.5 percent and Nevada at 88.4 percent. (See chart 3.) The differences among the states reflect, in part, variation in the occupations and industries found in each state and in the age composition of each state’s labor force. In addition, comparisons by gender are on a broad level and do not control for factors such as educational attainment which can be significant in explaining earnings differences.

For more information on the median weekly earnings of women and men, see Bureau of Labor Statistics Report 1038, Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2011, issued in October 2012; copies are available on the Internet at www.bls.gov/cps/cpswom2011.pdf. Information in this release is also available to sensory impaired individuals. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800)-877-8339.

Technical Note

The estimates in this report were obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which provides a wide range of information on the labor force, employment, and unemployment. This survey is conducted monthly for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau, using a national sample of about 60,000 households, with coverage in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The earnings data are collected from one-fourth of the CPS monthly sample.

Statistics based on the CPS data are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error. The differences among data for the states reflect, in part, variations in the occupation, industry, and age composition of each state’s labor force. In addition, sampling error for the state estimates is considerably larger than it is for the national data.

The principal definitions used in connection with the earnings series in this release are described below.

Usual weekly earnings. Data represent earnings before taxes and other deductions and include any overtime pay, commissions, or tips usually received (at the main job in the case of multiple jobholders.)

Median weekly earnings. The median is the amount which divides a given earnings distribution into two equal groups, one having earnings above the median and the other having earnings below the median.

Wage and salary workers. Workers who receive wages, salaries, commissions, tips, payment in kind, or piece rates. The group includes employees in both the private and public sectors but, for the purposes of the earnings series, excludes all self-employed persons, regardless of whether or not their businesses are incorporated.

Full-time worker. Workers who usually work 35 hours or more per week at their sole or principal job.

The latest BLS News Release showing women’s earnings in Oregon is now available online at http://www.bls.gov/ro9/orwomen.pdf.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. CascadeBusNews.com • CBN@CascadeBusNews.com

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