Urban Role Reversal in the Wage Gap

In large cities, young college-educated women make more than men do.

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What a difference an education and a city job make! For the first time, economists sifting through Census Bureau data have discovered that young, educated women in big cities outearn men in the same age bracket. For years we've heard about the gender pay gap, in which the average American man outearns the average American woman.That still holds true, but a big new exception uncovered by demographer Andrew Beveridge at Queens College in New York and reported in the Gotham Gazette shows the reverse is true for college-educated young women in New York and several other large cities including Dallas and Los Angeles.

The analysis shows that women of all educational levels from 21 to 30 living in New York City and working full time made 117 percent of men's wages; in Dallas the figure was 120 percent. College-educated women's earnings even further outpaced men's earnings in that age range. Nationwide, however, 21-to-30-year-old women made much less than men the same age, or around 89 percent of men's wages.

This raises several questions. Is the pay gap essentially over and done with? Of course it still holds true for the average American woman, but this big exception throws its longevity into question. Then there's the question: Do all women want to outearn men? Many women still want their man to be the main breadwinner. Lastly, how do men feel about all this? Will high-earner women be discounted by low-earning men as potential mates?