Fact Sheets 7 minutes

Women overall working full time, year round in the United States are paid only 79 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. And the wage gap is only 5 cents smaller for Asian American women who work full time, year round—they are paid only 84 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. This gap, which amounts to a loss of $9,136 a year, means that Asian American women have to work more than 14 months—until the middle of March this year—to make as much as white, non-Hispanic men did in one year alone.

Asian American women experience a wage gap at every education level.

  • Among full-time, year-round workers, Asian American women without a high school degree typically make only 73 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanic men without a high school degree make.
  • Asian American women must obtain a bachelor’s degree before their typical wages exceed those of white, non-Hispanic men without a bachelor’s degree. Asian American women with a bachelor’s degree are paid $58,090—$1.15 for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men with some college but no degree. Asian American women with only an associate’s degree typically make less—by about $4,900—than white, non-Hispanic men with only a high school degree (89 cents for every dollar).

Asian American women’s wage gap is wider among older women.

  • Among full-time, year-round workers ages 25-44, Asian American women typically make 98 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanic men make—but this figure is far worse for older women. Among workers 45-64 it is 68 cents and among those 65 and older it is 53 cents. These larger gaps mean that Asian American women are falling behind at the very time they need additional resources to invest in their
    families and save for retirement.
  • Over the course of a 40-year career, Asian American women typically lose $365,440 to the wage gap—this means Asian American women would have to work nearly 48 years to make what white, non-Hispanic men make in 40 years.

Asian American women experience a wage gap across occupations.

  • In a wide variety of occupations—those that are well-paid and poorly paid, those that are female-dominated and those that are non-traditional for women—Asian American women working full time, year round make less than white, non-Hispanic men.
    • Asian American women working as physicians and surgeons—a male-dominated, high-wage occupation—make 54 cents for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts.
    • Asian American women working as customer service representatives—a mid-wage, female-dominated occupation—make 84 cents for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts.
    • Asian American women working as hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers—a male-dominated, low-wage occupation—make 76 cents for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts.
    • Asian American women working as personal care aides—a female-dominated, low-wage occupation—make 88 cents for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts.
  • In addition to wage gaps within occupations, Asian American women are overrepresented in the most poorly paid jobs in the nation. Asian American women’s share of the low-wage workforce (4.1 percent) is 1.4 times larger than their share of the overall workforce (2.9 percent). Even in low-wage occupations, Asian American women working full time, year round experience a wage gap, making only 83 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanic men make.

Asian American women’s wage gap has persisted over decades.

  • In 1988, the earliest year for which data are available, an Asian American woman working full time, year round typically made only 69 cents for every dollar paid to her white, non-Hispanic male counterpart.
  • By 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, this figure stood at 84 cents—just over 15 cents less than it was a quarter of a century ago.

Asian American women’s wage gap is substantially wider for some subgroups.

  • Certain Asian American women experience a larger wage gap. Among full-time, year-round workers in 2014:
    • Vietnamese American women typically made just 62 percent of what white, non-Hispanic men made.
    • Some Asian American women working full time, year round do not fall into any of the groups listed below, including women who identify, for example, as Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Pakistani or Cambodian. As a group, these women typically made just 66 percent of what white, non-Hispanic men made.
    • Among each group listed, Asian American women typically made less than their Asian American male counterparts.12 Among full-time, year-round workers, women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s were: 73 percent for Indian Americans, 82 percent for Chinese Americans, 92 percent for Filipino Americans, 75 percent for Japanese Americans, 83 percent for Korean Americans, 73 percent for Vietnamese Americans, and 88 percent for other Asian Americans.
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