Press Release

Wage Gap Costs Women More Than $430,000 Over a Career, NWLC Analysis Shows

Posted on April 4, 2016 Issues: Equal Pay & the Wage Gap Workplace

Losses for Latinas more than $1 million; for African American women more than $877,000

(Washington, D.C.) Based on today’s wage gap, a woman starting her career now will lose $430,480 over a 40-year career, new NWLC analysis shows. For Latinas, this lifetime wage gap totals $1,007,080, and for African American women, the losses are $877,480.

The new analysis features an interactive map and state-by-state rankings of the lifetime wage gap for women overall and women by race and ethnicity. It is being released in advance of Equal Pay Day on April 12, 2016; the day which marks how far into the year full-time women workers have to work to make what their male counterparts typically made in the prior year alone.

“Women shouldn’t have to work nearly 51 years to make what a man makes in 40 years,” said Emily Martin, NWLC General Counsel and Vice President for Workplace Justice. “The wage gap hasn’t budged in nearly a decade, and as a result women are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars during their work years. And for many women of color, the cost of the lifetime wage gap will exceed a million dollars. We literally can’t afford to ignore this.”
Key findings from the state-by-state analysis include:

  • The cost of today’s wage gap over a 40-year career is the largest for women overall in Louisiana, where it amounts to $671,840 and is the smallest in Florida, where the losses amount to $248,120.
  • Women’s career losses amount to more than half a million dollars in seven states: Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
  • The situation is even worse for women of color. Compared to the earnings of white, non-Hispanic men:
    • The lifetime wage gap amounts to more than $1 million for Asian American women in one state, for African American women in six states, for Native American women in 13 states, and for Latinas in 23 states.
    • The cost of today’s wage gap over a 40-year career is:
      • The largest for both African American women and Latinas in D.C., where it amounts to nearly $1.6 million and nearly $1.8 million, respectively.
      • The largest for Asian American women in Alaska, where it amounts to nearly $1.2 million.
      • The largest for Native American women in California, where it amounts to nearly $1.4 million.

NWLC experts are available to discuss the wage gap analysis and its broader implications.

Methodological note: The cost of the wage gap over a 40-year career, or the “lifetime wage gap” is based on the latest (2014) data on the difference between women’s and men’s median annual earnings for full-time, year-round workers, multiplied by 40 years. Figures are not adjusted for inflation. State figures are based on five-year annual average American Community Survey data (2010-2014). For the purposes of this analysis D.C. is considered a state.


Contact: Maria Patrick ( or Alicia Gurrieri (