Women make up less than a quarter of Maine’s top earners

It’s Equal Pay Day, when the national gap in earnings between men and women (in all its various forms) takes center stage.

The Pew Research Center reported today that the pay gap appears to be shrinking among younger women, at a rate The Washington Post projected would eliminate the pay gap in Maine by about 2057.

Maine’s disparity in pay is about 3 cents less than the national average, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families. (The designated day was started by the National Committee on Pay Equity.)

But the difference who’s making what in Maine and the rest of the country is still pretty far apart. Just looking at the top income bracket tallied in the latest five-year data from the American Community Survey, women make up less than a quarter of the Mainers earning more than $100,000 a year.

And that’s not a fluke. Higher income levels are dominated by men in the state and nationally.

The data represents a work force in Maine of 739,430 people, with 361,557 women and 377,873 men.

That disparity in the top income bracket is greater than the country as a whole, where women make up about 25.1 percent of those making above $100,000 (which is to say nothing of the various telling income levels above that amount).

There are a lot of other regional wage factors that impact the significance of comparisons between regions, but the trend of women being under-represented in income categories starting at above about $30,000 is pretty uniform among the states.

Nationally, the Department of Labor reports that women, on average, earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man, and that breaks down in all kinds of ways across different job types and industries in the national data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey.

The more specific than industry and occupational information gets, the more clear the case becomes that women are in most cases paid less for the same jobs, which I think reasonable people agree is a bad thing.

I don’t have a breakdown of Maine-specific pay data by sex and industry or occupation, so I can’t speak to those specifics, but there’s one thing that’s clear: if a person makes more than $100,000 in Maine, there’s a 76.6 percent chance that person is male.

Darren Fishell

About Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.