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Visualizing the Massive Gender Pay Gap Across U.S. Industries

The gender pay gap is real, and it exists in every industry across the economy according to our latest visualization. But just how much more money do men make than women? The exact size of the wage gap depends on the industry.

Gender pay gap across us industries

  • Women make less money than men across several different industries in the U.S. economy, including educational services, health care, and food services.
  • The single industry with the largest gender pay gap is finance and insurance, where on average men take home $33,000 more than women every year.
  • Across the entire U.S. economy, median male earnings were $45,893 compared to $32,436 for women. In other words, women’s earnings are only 70.7% of men’s.

We got the data for our visualization from the US Census Bureau. The numbers reflect median earnings for men and women in 2019 inflation-adjusted dollars. We plotted the wage figures across industries, where the size and color of each bar corresponds to the total gross earnings by gender. And we ordered each industry by the size of the wage gap, creating a clear snapshot of gender income inequality across industries.

The Gender Wage Gap by Industry

Rank Industry

Median earnings


Median earnings


Women's earnings

(as a % of men's earning)

1 Finance and insurance $83,660 $50,456 60.30%
2 Other services, except public administration $35,778 $22,083 61.70%
3 Professional, scientific, and technical services $84,749 $53,152 62.70%
4 Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting $32,021 $20,689 64.60%
5 Management of companies and enterprises $85,219 $58,718 68.90%
6 Retail trade $30,592 $21,415 70.00%
7 Health care and social assistance $51,233 $35,916 70.10%
8 Information $65,475 $46,552 71.10%
9 Transportation and warehousing $44,984 $32,345 71.90%
10 Manufacturing $52,026 $37,694 72.50%
11 Arts, entertainment, and recreation $28,313 $21,066 74.40%
12 Public administration $66,032 $50,132 75.90%
13 Accommodation and food services $20,953 $16,256 77.60%
14 Utilities $76,884 $60,481 78.70%
15 Wholesale trade $51,407 $40,630 79.00%
16 Administrative and support and waste management services $31,531 $25,056 79.50%
17 Educational services $47,489 $39,704 83.60%
18 Real estate and rental and leasing $46,799 $40,293 86.10%
19 Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction $73,037 $65,364 89.50%
20 Construction $42,098 $39,222 93.2%

Our visualization contains several key insights into just how much more money men make than women. For starters, the gender pay gap is obvious in every industry, even ones where women hold the predominant share of the workforce. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 76% of public school teachers in the U.S. are women. And yet men working in education make $47.5K compared to $39.7K for women, a difference of about $7,800. The industry with the lowest gender pay gap is construction, where men take home $2,800 more than women each year. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics says women only make up about 10% of the workforce in the construction industry. So some industries where women hold most of the jobs, like education and healthcare, have worse gender pay gaps than industries where there are relatively few female employees, like construction.

But the scales are tilted even more disproportionately toward male workers in other parts of the economy. Take finance and insurance as an example. The median income for men is $83,600 compared to just $50,456. As a percentage of earnings, women only make 60.30% as much as men. That’s an eye-popping gender pay gap.

We won’t rehash all the different explanations and excuses for why men are compensated differently than women, however it’s worth considering how the coronavirus pandemic is making the situation even worse. There’s no doubt the entire economy went through a severe contraction last year. Women are already disproportionately represented in low-wage jobs, and with schools and childcare facilities forced to close, they are more likely than men to leave the workforce. All of which suggests that the gender pay gap will grow considerably worse before it gets better.

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