Based on today’s gender wage gap for full-time, year-round workers, women stand to lose $398,160 over the course of a 40-year career. For Latinas and Native women, the losses are over $1 million, and for Black and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander women, the losses are nearly $1 million over a lifetime. If we don’t act to close the wage gap, a woman just starting out today stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of her career, undercutting her ability to provide for herself and her family, as well as her retirement security. 

This “lifetime wage gap” exists across the country: in every single state, career losses for women of all races working full time, year round compared to men of all races working full time, year round based on today’s wage gap would amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars — and in 12 states women’s career losses would amount to more than half a million dollars. 

And many women of color living in certain states would lose the most. Compared to what white, non-Hispanic men working full time, year round make, the lifetime wage gap would amount to more than $1 million for Asian women in two states, for Black women in 19 states, for Latinas in 31 states, for Native women in 20 states, and for Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander women in 6 states. 

Source Note: The cost of the wage gap over a 40-year career, or the “lifetime wage gap,” is based on the latest 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 wage gap figures calculated by NWLC for women overall are based on  2021 American Community Survey Data. Figures for Black women; Latinas; Asian women; Native women; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander women; and white, non-Hispanic women calculated by NWLC are based on 2017-2021 American Community Survey 5-year estimates. For the purposes of this analysis, D.C. is considered a state. Some states do not have adequate sample sizes to analyze the lifetime wage gap for certain groups of women by race/ethnicity.