Women Who Make More

The first chapter of SuperFreakonomics, and a recent Q&A, addressed the pervasive male-female wage gap, but there does seem to be one subset of women who make more money than their male peers. “In 2008, single, childless women between ages 22 and 30 were earning more than their male counterparts in most U.S. cities, with incomes that were 8% greater on average, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data,” reports the Wall Street Journal. The gap is driven by factors like higher female college graduation rates, the increasing wage premium for college degrees, and disappearing jobs in male-dominated fields. Consistent with earlier findings, the data also indicate that “women tend to see wages stagnate or fall after they have children.” [%comments]

Drill-Baby-Drill Drill Team

Having a baby WILL change your life--more for mothers than the fathers. It is not unreasonable that the whole wage discrepancy between men and women is due to PRIORITIES: CHILDREN COME FIRST. Everything else is a distant second, including gross income.

Women who choose NOT to have children will progress just as fast as men up the career ladder. There are only 24 hours in a day...there is not time to have it all: Career, Young Children, Martha Stewart Homemaker, and a Romantic, Surprise-Filled Relationship.

Denial is not just a River in Egypt.


This may be one reason why so many women are choosing to delay childbearing. If your pay is going to stagnate once you have kids, best to bolster it as much as possible during what may be your highest earning potential years.



Inconsistent with all sociology and gender psych doctrines I was exposed to in college; consistent with my own observations. There is no more good ol' boys club, certainly not widespread.

Also note that women's dedication to work and desire for career achievements may tend to "stagnate and fall" after having kids. This is often a willful choice on their part.


I couldn't tell from the article whether it was in comparision to all male peers in that age group or just childless ones. I'd bet men with child dependants (not just biologic children) earn more then men without.


I totally thought you were going to say porn stars, strippers, or prostitutes. I'm pretty sure women make more than men in those occupations as well.


All this study does is show that college degrees equal higher wages. It doesn't compare apples-to-apples which would compare the wages of women to men at the same job with the same credentials and same level of education.

Michael R. Keller

Comparing the wages of people with different educations does not disprove the disadvantage women face in the workforce, it proves it!

Saying that a college-educated woman's wages should be compared with a male high-school dropout is ridiculous.

You should be comparing people with identical backgrounds except for gender. And when you do that, women are still paid markedly less.


All of life requires making choices, and sometimes the choice is between raising children and advancing in a career. Not all choices are easy, fair or pleasant -- for women and men, there are always opportunity costs involved. Is it wrong that a single man may be forced to choose between paying off student debts and working for a non-profit? If we expect society to allow women to "have it all," shouldn't we provide the same opportunities for men? The family/job debate seems to get special status because it is seen as discrimination against women, when to me it seems more like the consequences of a choice: the decision to raise children makes other decisions unavailable. I may *want* to have a high-powered job and five kids, but that's not always an option, just as a man may want to be a stay-at-home dad without giving up a position as CEO.

I am single and childless, and perfectly happy with the trade-off of not having kids. There is only so much time during the day, and I would resent a society that bent over backwards to provide me with options simply because I am a woman and thus somehow at the mercy of a so-called biological clock.




That is false. Once you compare people with IDENTICAL backgrounds except for gender, you find income is identical. Look it up, the studies are there.


I believe this may be about the economics of the diminishing number of high status positions. Hypothesis:

The number of high status positions have decreased because of mergers of smaller companies into bigger companies. (Take for example hospitals- 30 years ago most cities had numerous smaller hospitals and now these have been consolidated)
One of the huge savings comes from needing one ceo instead of 10). Males as a group tend to be more status hungry then females and therefore more disruptive in the current environment because there are fewer high status jobs for them to eventually be promoted into. Therefore companies will pay a premium for a non reproducing female because they are less problematic to deal with vs a male and less threatening to those in upper management. See Salpolsky "The Trouble with Testosterone".


I would imagine that this trend is much more pronounced among minorities.


In response to:
"Also note that women's dedication to work and desire for career achievements may tend to "stagnate and fall" after having kids. This is often a willful choice on their part."

This may be true on the part of some very priviliged women, but on the whole, it is the fact that childcare falls disproportionately to women regardless of their job situation or their marriage status that determines this outcome. If a woman is unable to "go the extra mile" by staying late, working off-hours, attending weekend conferences, etc., because of child care concerns, her male OR female counterparts who aren't "burdened" by these other priorities will certainly shoot ahead of her in promotions and job offers.

Many a woman has found that if you don't want to completely miss out on raising your own children, you will be passed over at work time and time again. There is nothing "willful" about this choice. Unless you call the choice between a rock and a hard place "willful."



The only true wage comparison is two people doing the same job and what they make. Anything else is just dumb. My wife and I have the exact same degree from the same university and we graduated the same year. At first we pretty much made the same wage within probably five thousand. She stopped working 7 years ago to stay home with the children. Well she will never earn as much as me even when she goes back to work.

Will we be considered in the study that we should make the same wage?


And it is puzzling that women want equal pay with men.


Why is it simply assumed that a woman's career must suffer more when children are born? Even in a post-feminist world, women are expected to put aside their careers and take on a disproportionate amount of housework.

Sorry, but the glass ceiling is very real and comparing female college graduates to male high school dropouts is misleading at best. Compare men and women doing the same work and track women's progress relative to men if you want an honest study.

Thank you for another poorly executed study that confirms male chauvinist's preexisting biases.

Karen Anne

Drill-Baby-Drill Drill Team,

I see gender bias is alive and well in 2010.


That's interesting.

Too many businesses want you to sell your soul to them these days. I personally do my best to avoid doing 'extra work' in my career and honestly I find myself more productive anyway.

Working off hours is sure to build resentment and unhappiness. In intellectual industries like technology and finance, the price of working with an unclear and unfocused mind is heavy, and probably can't be made up with extra work-time. You're more liable to make mistakes when tired or irritable.

Our culture needs to get away from the 60 hour work week, or at least understand how it's ridiculous outside of low-skill security and manufacturing jobs. Sure, there are crunch times, but how can EVERY MONTH be a crunch time?!


The comments on this article are simply revolting and wholly representative of the extraordinary narcissism of modernity.

As our civilization continues to collapse, these peculiar elements of cultural marxism become ever more ridiculous.

So many of you have chosen to redefine what it means to be human, and all you have is a nation being flooded with foreigners who think you're simply nuts and who will outbreed you within a generation.

Liberalism is a self limiting diease, and in this case, the patient will be missed by no one.


The take away here is not only that having children reduces a woman's potential lifetime earnings, but that women who are better educated (think college/graduate degrees) are more likely to wait until they are older to marry and have children - hence why it is single, childless women under 30 who are beating the wage gap, not all women under 30. More interesting would be an analysis on why this applies only to cities, not suburban areas - though I suspect it is a case of imperfect markets...

You can find me at Life: Forward (http://TheLifeForward.com) talking about women, the wage gender gap, and body image.


To #15. I would gladly stay home with my daughters all day and run the house and make dinner instead of going to work.