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Gender Wage Gap

Pay Equity Disparities in West Virginia

West Virginia has the third-highest gender wage gap in the United States, with women earning on average $12,000 (26%) less than men, which equated to $13.7 billion in lost earnings for women in 2017. And though men’s and women’s overall salaries are lower in West Virginia than most states, WV women earn $512,000 less than men over the course of their working lives.

Read more about addressing pay equity disparities in West Virginia and how to start to turn the tide.


  • WV women working full time earned 74 cents to every dollar made by a man in the state overall in 2017.
  • Black women in WV make 63 cents to every dollar a man makes and Latinas make 60 cents. (Data is not available for an analysis of wage gap disparities in the LGBTQ community.)
  • WV’s gender pay gap also varies by region; in Braxton County the gap is as high as 50%.
  • WV women must work until age 75 to equal the earnings of men at age 60 – requiring them to work 15 years longer to catch up.
  • WV women account for more educational degrees at every level, but also make less in jobs at every level. For example, men in WV without a high school degree earn twice what women without a high school degree earn. And men make more than women in every degree concentration and in every class of college graduates.
  • Women graduating from WV’s public higher education institutions make nearly $4,000 less than men in the first year of working. The gap grows larger the longer a graduate is out of school. The average WV woman attending her 10-year college reunion earns $19,500 less than her male peers and earns less than the average WV man graduating six classes behind her. The wage gap for college graduates has increased since data tracking began with the 1996-1997 class.

Based on 2015 salaries, men make more than women in a wide variety of fields:

  • Engineering: $11,000
  • Teaching: $4,000
  • Math and Statistics: $5,000
  • Public Administration and Social Services: $8,000
  • Law Enforcement, Homeland Security, and Public Safety: $13,500
  • Business, Management, and Marketing: $16,000

With the pay gap of $12,000 that working WV women lost in 2017, a family could pay for:

  • 1.5 years
    of childcare
  • 2 years
    of food for her family
  • 2 years
    of WV tuition at
    community college or 
  • 1.5 years
    at a four-year college

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*Citations available upon request.