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Women of Mississippi Still Earn Less than Men with Similar Education

September 3rd, 2010

This week the Clarion-Ledger ran an article entitled “Young women without kids or husband outearn men in cities,” which highlighted that across the nation, young, single women without children earn 8 percent more than their urban-dwelling, male counterparts. The article may have left some readers curious about trends in women’s and men’s wages in Mississippi.

Women in Mississippi have seen their wages increase relative to men over the last 3 decades. In 1979, the median wage for women in Mississippi was 64 percent of men’s wages. In 2009, the median wage for women in Mississippi was 82 percent of men’s wages, with a median hourly wage of $11.77 for women and $14.33 for men. However, as seen below,  women in Mississippi still earn substantially less than men with similar levels of educational attainment.

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Women in Mississippi Earn Less than Men Across All Educational Levels

Microsoft Word - Wages and Women Blog Post[1].docx

The chart also reveals that regardless of gender, annual earnings increase as education increases. For Mississippi’s women, postsecondary education can lead to substantial earnings increases. Women with an Associate’s degree earn 43 percent more than those that graduate from high school but do not go on to postsecondary education. Median wages for women with a Bachelor’s degree are 69 percent higher than median high school wages.

Single mothers with children are more likely than any other family type to live on incomes below the Self-Sufficiency Standard. The median wage for women with an Associate’s Degree is above the Self-Sufficiency Standard for one adult in all of Mississippi’s counties and is above the Self-Sufficiency Standard for one adult with a preschooler in 70 out of Mississippi’s 82 counties. Advancing women into postsecondary education and toward a degree is a key piece of ensuring that women in Mississippi, particularly single mothers, are on a path to economic security for themselves and their children.


Economic Policy Institute analysis of Current Population Survey data


Sarah Welker, Policy Analyst



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