MEASURING THE GAP
The Crist campaign told us they took the figure from an April 2013 release by the National Partnership for Women & Families, a Washington-based a think tank focusing on women’s issues.
The factsheet reads, “In Florida, on average, a woman who holds a full-time job is paid $33,823 per year while a man who holds a full-time job is paid $40,951 per year. This means that women in Florida are paid 83 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly gap of $7,128 between men and women who work full time in the state.”
Those numbers are from a larger report by the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2011 American Community Survey, which estimated median annual earnings for men and women who worked full-time, year-round over the prior 12 months.
It’s worth noting right now that this data has already been revised. An April 2014 release from the same think tank updated the numbers from the 2012 Census survey estimates that Floridian women are making 84 cents on the dollar. That’s not what we’d consider a huge increase, but it still is a discrepancy compared to Crist’s claim. (His campaign didn’t tell us why they used the lower number.)
But the Census Bureau isn’t the only federal agency that tracks income data. The Bureau of Labor Statistics measures in terms of weekly wages, not yearly. Unlike the Census Bureau, this method does not account for people who are self-employed, but it does include some people not measured in the Census Bureau’s annual figures, like some teachers, construction workers and seasonal workers.
These BLS numbers show that Florida women who worked full time in wage and salary jobs had median usual weekly earnings of $668 in 2011, which was 84 percent of men’s median weekly earnings. That edged up slightly to 85 percent in 2012.
Nationally, the comparable figures from 2012 show a similar pattern: Census shows the gap at about 77 cents, while BLS says women make 82 percent of what men make. Both evaluations say Floridian men and women make less than the national median income, although the gender wage gap is marginally smaller.
Why is that? There are several reasons, and none of them are flattering for Florida.
Alayne Unterberger, associate research director at Florida International University’s Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy, said there’s a high level of working, single mothers in Florida, and they tend to have less education and fewer quality job opportunities.
The National Women’s Law Center says almost 66 percent of Florida women make $10.10 an hour or less, and that while men only need a high school degree to move out of low-wage earning status, women usually require at least a bachelor’s degree.
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