Nationwide, women are nearly two-thirds of the nearly 24 million workers in low-wage jobs that typically pay $11.50 per hour or less—and women outnumber men in the low-wage workforce in every state and the District of Columbia.

Women are overrepresented in the low-wage workforce in every state.

  • In all but one state (Nevada), women make up at least 60 percent of the low-wage workforce, even though they are less than half of the overall workforce in every state. (In the District of Columbia, women are 51.2 percent of the overall workforce and 60.8 percent of the low-wage workforce.)
  • Women make up more than two-thirds of the low-wage workforce in 29 states.
  • In Iowa, Louisiana, and Mississippi, more than 7 in 10 workers in the low-wage workforce are women.

In most states, women are at least twice as likely to hold low-wage jobs as men.

  • Women are at least two times more likely than men to hold low-wage jobs in all but nine states (Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Delaware, Nevada) and the District of Columbia.
  • Women are 2.5 times more likely than men to hold low-wage jobs in eight states: Wyoming, North Dakota, Louisiana, Mississippi, Iowa, Nebraska, West Virginia, and Alabama.
  • Wyoming and North Dakota have the largest disparities between men and women working in the low-wage workforce. In both of these states, the share of women in the low-wage workforce is 2.8 times the share of men in low-wage workforce.
  • Nevada has the largest share of women low-wage workers (30.1 percent) and men low-wage workers (18.6 percent).

Source: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) calculations are based on 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, http://www.census.gov/acs/www/. The low-wage workforce is defined here as occupations with median wages of $11.50 or less per hour based on U.S. Dep’t of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm.

Click here for tables with data on women in the low-wage workforce by state.

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