Apr 1, 2022 - News

Des Moines' young women make $5K less than men

Illustration of business suit stop hand held out at woman
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Des Moines women under 30 earn 87% of what their male counterparts make, a recent Pew Research analysis of census data through 2019 finds.

  • Median annual earnings among young women working full-time, year-round was $34,518. That's $5,189 less than young men.

Why it matters: Wage inequities hurt everyone.

The big picture: Nationally, women ages 16-29 earn 93%, on average, of what men make, according to Pew's review.

  • Midwest metros tend to have the widest gaps, with young women earning about 90% of young men, Pew found.

Of note: Earning disparities between the sexes tend to widen with age, Pew noted.

  • And women with kids typically face a wage penalty, Marianne Cooper, a sociologist at Stanford, tells Axios' Emily Peck.

Zoom in: Of the 250 metro areas in the study, Des Moines ranked in the bottom half, at No. 166.

  • Young men work slightly more hours than women on a national basis, according to the Pew study. If that factor is true in DSM, it could help explain a portion of the metro's gap, Iowa economist Peter Orazem tells Axios.

Iowa City, on the other hand, is one of 16 metros across the country where young women out-earn men.

  • The 1% difference equated to $274 more for Iowa City's female workers under 30 in 2019.

What they're saying: Health care jobs pay better than many other industries and often have a larger percent of women workers, William Boal, a Drake economics professor, tells Axios.

  • A large employer in Iowa City is the University of Iowa and that likely contributed to its ranking, he says.
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