Carpe Diem

‘Equal Pay Day for Young, Single Men’ to recognize the gender pay gap in favor of young, single, childless women

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Today (April 9th) is “Equal Pay Day,” which represents how far into 2013 the average female worker would have to continue working to earn what the average male worker earned in 2012. Equal Pay Day is based on the assumption that women earned 23% less on average than men last year, so they must work an additional three months, one week, and one day this year to make up for the “wage gap.”

But comparing average wages by gender is statistically meaningless because that comparison violates the most basic statistical principle that you can only compare two groups if you “hold everything else constant.” In the case of comparing wages by gender, you have to control for all of the other relevant variables that affect income: hours worked, education, years of continuous work experience without interruption, marital status, number of children, age, industry, workplace conditions, and occupational risk of death or injury, etc. To say that women on average make 23% less than men without controlling for any variable except gender is statistically meaningless, i.e. it’s an “apples to oranges” comparison.

As you control for more and more of the relevant variables that affect earnings so that you can make a true “apples to apples” comparison of wages, the male-female wage gap starts to narrow significantly and often completely disappears (or actually reverses) as both Andrew Biggs and June O’Neill point out today on the AEIdeas blog.

For example, a labor market study in 2010 actually found statistical evidence of a reverse gender pay gap in favor of women. That’s right. James Chung of Reach Advisors spent more than a year analyzing wage data from the Census Bureau and found that in America’s largest cities, single, childless women under the age of 30 earned 8% more on average than their male counterparts (see Time Magazine article here). In some cities like Atlanta, the wage premium in favor of women was as high as 21% (see table below).


Inspired by NCPE’s “Equal Pay Day” and in recognition of these recent findings that young, single, childless men in America’s largest cities make only 92 cents for every dollar earned by young, single women, I hereby propose the creation of a new “Equal Pay Day for Young, Single Men.” Based on some of the city-specific wage premiums in favor of young, single, childless women, the table above shows the “Equal Pay Day for Young Single Men” in selected US cities.

For example, the average young, single male worker in Atlanta had to continue working almost three additional months, until March 21, this year to earn the same income as the average female in his peer group earned last year in 2012. For all of the cities in the study, the average “Equal Pay Day for Young, Single Men” was February 1, meaning that young, single, childless men had to continue working for an extra month to make up for the 8% male wage gap.

Hopefully, the creation of the “Equal Pay Day for Young, Single Men” will bring some public awareness to the fact that young, single, childless men now earn less on average than their female counterparts in America’s large cities. Because of the 8% gender pay gap favoring women, thousands, if not millions, of young, single men had to work an extra month or more this year just to catch up to the income that their higher-paid female counterparts earned last year. On “Equal Pay Day for Young, Single Men,” we recognize this injustice by marking how far into a new year men have to work just to make what women did in the previous year.

13 thoughts on “‘Equal Pay Day for Young, Single Men’ to recognize the gender pay gap in favor of young, single, childless women

  1. I enjoy these posts on the real world, when it comes to men.

    But, if you are an average guy in the USA, you already know the truth: Your role in life is to get crapped on, by women, bosses, governments, rich people.

    Get a toilet seat halo, and get used to it.

  2. I get that young, single men may make less than young, single women. However, does that data show that this trend will continue as young men and women now advance through the workplace in to their 30s, 40s, 50s, etc? That’s what I would like to see.

  3. This blog post is sleezy. It roundly criticizes Equal Pay Day for failing to control for variables beyond gender when looking at wages, and then it goes on to cite a study that did not control for education. The blogger implies that instead some sort of bias against men is to blame for the wage gap among young, unmarried, urban-dwellers.

    As the Time article to which the blogger links states, the researcher who completed this study, James Chung, attributes the difference between men’s and women’s pay to differences in education. Let me save you the trouble of following the link by citing it here:

    “The figures come from James Chung of Reach Advisors, who has spent more than a year analyzing data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. He attributes the earnings reversal overwhelmingly to one factor: education. For every two guys who graduate from college or get a higher degree, three women do. This is almost the exact opposite of the graduation ratio that existed when the baby boomers entered college. Studies have consistently shown that a college degree pays off in much higher wages over a lifetime, and even in many cases for entry-level positions. “These women haven’t just caught up with the guys,” says Chung. “In many cities, they’re clocking them.”

    • Yes it was intentionally meant to be a “sleazy” – or let’s say it was meant to be a “satirical” or “tongue in cheek” post, to poke fun at “Equal Pay Day.”

      Of course, there are reasons that single young women earn more than men on average – they are better educated. Once we control for education, there would likely be wage parity for that group, and there would be no wage gap to justify a “Equal Pay Day for Young, Single Men.” Likewise, if we control for all relevant variables for all men and women, there would be NO wage gap that would justify “Equal Pay Day.”

      • Damn your logic Mark. You are destroying the very foundation an entire generation of women have clinged to. Without being able to blame ‘teh patriarchy’, gasp, these women might actually have to look in the mirror to discover the cause of all their ills. That must not happen, or those who pull the ‘it is all the mens fault’ strings might just find the soapboxes they spout hate from crumble!

      • I commented on the post specifically because it attracted the first comment seen here–one that says that women are oppressing men.

        I’m sure it’s true that controlling for certain variables (eg: career choice, hours worked per week) would explain much of the wage gap between men and women. Todd’s comment presupposes that I blame “teh patriarchy” and that I am in denial about the cause of “[women's] ills.” It’s easy to pressuppose that all critics of a blog post such as this are harpy feminists, but it’s quite off base. I’m a social scientist. I’m not interested in blaming men, or defending women, but rather in the social science. I thought that this blog post did a disservice to the study by failing to explain the social science behind the results of James Chung’s study.

        • Laura: “I commented on the post specifically because it attracted the first comment seen here–one that says that women are oppressing men.

          You are probably unaware that the author of the first comment isn’t taken seriously by other readers here. for the most part he is ignored.

        • The standard, cultural-determinist social-science model is seriously flawed. It’s serves only a sickening, political purpose.

          One of the most recent and entertaining works on the subject was broadcasted in 2010, produced by Harald Eia of Norway and aptly titled “Hjernevask” (“Brainwashing”). His series drove a nail into the antiquated social-science coffin, which resulted in the defunding and closure of the Nordic Gender Institute (NIKK), previously known as the Nordic Institute for Women’s Studies and Gender Research.

          True science prevails!

          • Although funny, stop with the stabs. This well done article touches the surface of our changing paradigm.

            -The traditionally accepted “gender gap” is skewed to the feminist favor.

            -Workplaces want to make money. To do so, they will hire the best person for a job. Male or female does not matter in a bosses decision, but circumstances do matter. (i.e. single mother vs single man)

            -Men are more “ADD” then women. Today’s higher paying positions favor the woman’s natural aptitudes. Men are physical and less likely to be able to sit at a desk. Women are more studious and tend to follow directions more often.

            -Today’s men are not living as their fathers did, and that is hard for men to swallow, especially if their breadwinning wife starts calling the shots. Even if she is not, he very well could feel that way.

            -It is time for society to not only accept these men, but to value them. Our societies will continue to incline criminally, and decline socially and culturally if we do not.

  4. Actually, when you control for education and race men outearn women by a strong margin. Sociologist Philip Cohen went through the data (check his blog, he is a brilliant social scientist).

    The reason is that inner cities have a high proportion of uneducated (4 year college) black/latino men and a high proportion of college educated white women. White men with 4 year college edu outearn their female equivalents significantly (even when controlling for hours worked/overtime).

    Do not be sloppy with data, Mark.

    • College educated white women prefer living in the inner city? Who knew?

      White men with 4 year college edu outearn their female equivalents significantly (even when controlling for hours worked/overtime).

      1. What happens when you control for married/unmarried children/no children and continuous years in the workplace for men and women with otherwise equal qualifications?

      2. Do you believe that legislation can eliminate gender bias?

      3. Do you believe that, considering how important labor costs are to the bottom line of any business, if women are in every way as equally valuable to an employer as their male counterparts, and yet will work for less, there is any reason for an employer to hire men at all?

      In other words, if I can hire men for $10/hr and equally capable, hard-working, and valuable women for $8/hr, why would I hire any men at all? In fact why wouldn’t I fire all the men and replace them with women? My bias would have to be really strong for me to take a $2/hr direct hit to my bottom line in order to indulge my preference for male workers.

      If I’m required by law to pay men and women equally, then my bias costs me nothing, and I can discriminate as much as I wish.

      It is apparent from his blog, credentials, writing, and references to other sites that your hero Philip Cohen begins with the premise that there is inequality in all things due to discrimination, and then works hard to show that there can’t be any other explanation. Try some other “experts” for a wider viewpoint. You owe it to yourself.

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