Another View of the Gender Earnings Gap

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Written by: Jamie M. Lewis, Ph.D., Statistician, Fertility and Family Statistics Branch

In 2014, the female-to-male earnings ratio stood at 0.79, indicating that the median earnings of women who worked full time, year-round was 79 percent of what their male counterparts earned.

There is also a considerable gap when focusing on men and women living in the same household. Currently, the median earnings of wives is $12,154, or 33 percent of the median earnings of husbands, $37,363.

The gap is substantially smaller among unmarried, or cohabiting, couples. Cohabiting women earn a median of $18,350, or 67 percent of the median for cohabiting men, $27,352. Note that these data measure income earned in 2014.


It is also important to note that these values for median earnings compare all spouses and all unmarried partners, including those without any earnings. Although the earnings gap is often calculated only for those working full time, year-round, looking at all couples is valuable when using a family perspective. Many family factors affect men’s and women’s opportunities and decisions regarding whether and how to pursue a career. See the second figure for values comparing only those who worked full time, year-round. Wives working full time, year-round earn a median of $42,069, or 73 percent of the median earnings of similarly employed husbands, $57,416. The median earnings of cohabiting women working full time, year-round is $33,727, or 86 percent of the median earnings of similarly employed cohabiting men, $39,057.


Indeed, employment status is a key factor for understanding the earnings gap within couples. One reason that women earn less, on average, than their husbands or male partners is that they more frequently take time away from the workforce. Although both the wife and husband are employed in nearly half (48 percent) of married couples, it remains more common for the husband to be employed and the wife to be out of the labor force (22 percent) than vice versa (7 percent). Indeed, 96 percent of stay-at-home married parents are mothers.

Employment patterns also help explain why earnings are more comparable between male and female cohabiters than between husbands and wives. Compared with married couples, both partners are employed in a larger share of cohabiting couples, at 57 percent. Similar to what was observed for married couples, it is more common for men in unmarried couples to be employed and for women to be out of the labor force (17 percent) than for women to be employed and for men to be out of the labor force (8 percent). However, the gap is smaller than for married couples.

For more information on America’s families and living arrangements, including the similarities and differences between husbands and wives and women and men in unmarried couples, please visit today’s release.

Posted in About the Census Bureau, Families, Income, Marriage, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2015 Mover Rate Remains Near Historic Low

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Written By: David Ihrke

Given the amount of effort and planning required to move, it should come as no surprise that the vast majority of people in the United States do not move over a one-year period.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) of the Current Population Survey (CPS), only 11.6 percent of the population age 1 and over moved between 2014 and 2015. This is not statistically different from the 2014 mover rate of 11.5 percent.

The CPS first asked about migration in 1948, a few years after the end of World War II. Historical migration rates dating back to 1948 are shown in Figure 1. The annual mover rate for 1947-1948 was 20.2 percent. Over time, the mover rate gradually declined. Rates hovered around 16 percent in the late 1990s but quickly fell to around 14 percent by the early 2000s.

image 2

Looking at the mover rate by type of move provides valuable insight into why the mover rate has declined. As Figure 2 shows, all types of domestic moves have declined since 1948. In 1948, 13.6 percent of the population moved within the same county. Movement within the same county fell below 10 percent in 2001 and has remained below 10 percent since 2003. Recent estimates show it hovering between 7 and 8 percent. Movement to a different county within the same state was 3.3 percent in 1948 and was down to 2.1 percent in 2015. Moves to a different county in a different state were about half in 2015 from what they were in 1948 (1.6 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively). The 1948 rates for different county within the same state and different county in a different state were not significantly different. Interestingly, the percent of movers from abroad has not changed considerably over the 67 years of data collection (it was 0.3 percent in 1948 and 0.5 percent in 2015).


In 1999, ASEC began asking movers for their main reason for moving. While this information does not help explain the decrease in the mover rate over time, it provides valuable insight into motivating factors behind moves and how these factors have changed for the years available. For this example, we compared 2009 data when the U.S. was deeply embedded in the Great Recession with estimates from 2015. According to Figure 3, “to establish own household” and “new job or job transfer” were both more common in 2015 than 2009. “To look for work or lost job,” “wanted a better neighborhood/less crime” and “wanted cheaper housing” were more common in 2009 than 2015.

The 2015 ASEC asked additional migration questions using a five-year reference period. These five-year questions have been added every five years since 2005. Prior to 2005, they were mostly asked on years ending in “5” to serve as midway points to five-year migration estimates from decennial censuses.

Five-year migration data from the CPS provide information over a longer period, hence the rates are typically higher than one-year migration rates and show the same decline in migration that we see in the one-year question (Figure 4). The 1975 rate was 45.6 percent, the 2005 rate was 39.1 percent, and the 2015 rate was 33.7 percent.

image 4

The one-year geographical mobility detailed tables for 2015 will come out later this year. They include information on selected characteristics, such as educational attainment, labor force status, distance moved and reason for move.

For more information on migration, visit the Census Bureau’s website at

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Taking a Look at Veterans Across America

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By Braedyn Kromer and Kelly Holder

As we celebrate those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces this Veterans Day, many Americans may want to learn more about the veterans who live in and around their area. Today the Census Bureau released a series of infographics detailing characteristics of veterans within each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Statistics based on American Community Survey data collected from 2009 to 2013 show 21.3 million veterans living in the United States and Puerto Rico, comprising 9 percent of the civilian population. Alaska had the highest proportion of its population who were veterans, at 13.8 percent. Puerto Rico, at 3.8 percent, reported the lowest proportion of veterans.

Veterans as a Percentage of the Civilian Population Age 18 and Over, by State, 2009-2013

Among veterans, 7.3 percent were women. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, women are the fastest growing subpopulation within the veteran community. Alaska and Virginia had the highest proportions of female veterans, at about 12 percent of the civilian population in each state.  Alaska and Virginia were also among the states with the highest proportions of total veterans. Industry and economic concentrations and opportunities, as well as cultural dynamics within these two states may help explain such high concentrations of veterans. Both states are home to several military bases, which may provide a welcoming and familiar community for the men and women who served there.

Educational attainment is another characteristic highlighted in these infographics. Twenty-six percent of veterans had a bachelor’s degree or higher during the 2009-2013 period. Forty-four percent of veterans in the District of Columbia had a bachelor’s degree or higher – the highest rate in the nation. Virginia, Colorado, Maryland and Utah were the top four states with the highest proportion of veterans with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Several of these states also reported comparably high educational attainment for nonveterans.

Veterans were more likely to have health insurance coverage than nonveterans during the 2009-2013 period; 6 percent of veterans and 18.6 percent of nonveterans were uninsured during this time. The veteran population is substantially older, as a group, than nonveterans, which may account for higher rates of health care coverage. Many are also eligible to receive medical coverage through the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system. Massachusetts reported the lowest rate of uninsured veterans, at 2 percent, which is not surprising since the uninsured rate for nonveterans was also lowest in Massachusetts.

According to the latest statistics from the Survey of Business Owners, 2.5 million businesses in the United States were veteran-owned in 2012. These accounted for 9.2 percent of all firms in the nation. The proportion of total firms that were veteran-owned in each state ranged from 6.9 percent to 13.2 percent, with New York having one of the lowest rates and South Carolina having one of the highest rates.

To view these statistics along with other social and demographic statistics for veterans living in your state, please visit For more information on veterans, please visit

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Measuring Race And Ethnicity Across The Decades: 1790-2010

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Written By: Beverly M. Pratt, Lindsay Hixson and Nicholas A. Jones

Over the years, the U.S. Census Bureau has collected information on race and ethnicity. The census form has always reflected changes in society, and shifts have occurred in the way the Census Bureau classifies race and ethnicity. Historically, the changes have been influenced by social, political and economic factors including emancipation, immigration and civil rights. Today, the Census Bureau collects race and ethnic data according to U.S. Office of Management and Budget guidelines, and these data are based on self-identification.

A new interactive visualization released today shows how race and ethnicity categories have changed over time since the first census in 1790. This allows us to better understand the relationship between historical classifications and the present time. A static version of this same visualization was presented in April 2015 at the Population Association of America’s annual meeting.

We created this interactive timeline to establish a starting point for the public — including community stakeholders, academics and data users — to understand how race and ethnicity categories have changed over 220 years in the decennial census. This understanding is important as we interpret results from the 2010 Census Race and Hispanic Origin Alternative Questionnaire Experiment and the current middecade testing of race and ethnicity questions, including the 2015 National Content Test. The National Content Test will inform design changes for collecting data on race and ethnicity in the 2020 Census and other ongoing demographic and economic surveys conducted by the Census Bureau.



What can we learn from this visualization?

Some categories appeared, were removed from the census form and then reappeared throughout history. For example, the “other race” category existed in some form from 1790 through 1840, then disappeared between 1850 and 1900, and then reappeared in 1910. In addition, the visualization shows that detailed Asian groups first became part of the census form in 1860 and that more detailed Asian groups were added, such as “Hindu,” in the 1920, 1930 and 1940 censuses. We can also see when the Hispanic/Latino ethnicity category first appeared on the 1970 census sample form, while showing that in 1930, the category “Mexican” was used as a race.

Some race categories have changed while others have remained the same. The term “white” has been used since the very first census. In comparison, the descriptions of all other categories have changed and/or have been added over time.

Finally, our nation’s changing history is reflected in the categories. For example, after Alaska and Hawaii each received statehood in 1959, the 1960 Census saw the addition of the terms “Aleut,” “Eskimo” and “Hawaiian” for the first time.

How will the census form change in 2020 and beyond?

The Census Bureau is continually updating its approach to collecting, processing and categorizing all types of responses representing ethnic origins from nations around the world. The 2015 National Content Test, which is currently being conducted, will have dedicated areas so that people can report their specific nationality or ethnic origins in addition to providing responses to the standard OMB race and ethnic categories. This research and testing, along with continued input from our advisory committees and stakeholders, will ensure the 2020 Census form reflects how the U.S. population identify themselves.

Note: The terms displayed on the visualization have not been modified from their historical use.

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Homegrowns and Rolling Stones

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By Megan Benetsky, Charlynn Burd and Kin Koerber

Most people in the United States — about 59 percent — live in the state where they were born. Nevertheless, that leaves a large share of people who have moved from their home state to another part of country. This migration dynamic varies, as some states are more likely to have a mostly homegrown population while other states have large shares of people born elsewhere.

The Census Bureau released two tables last month that make it easy for researchers and local communities to explore the places where people were born compared to where they currently reside, using American Community Survey data. The first table crosses state of birth by state of current residence. The second table is a Historic Place of Birth Dashboard, an interactive table that shows the total population over time and the population born in a selected state. This is the first time these tables have been available from the American Community Survey.

As you can see below, states in the South and Midwest regions have among the largest shares of homegrown populations. States in the West are among the states with the smallest shares, or have the largest population of residents flowing in and out of the state.

Table 1. States among the largest and smallest proportions of current residents born in state
State Percent born in state of current residence
Louisiana 77.7%
Michigan 76.7%
Ohio 75.1%
Pennsylvania 73.4%
Mississippi 71.5%
Wyoming 41.0%
Arizona 39.0%
District of Columbia 36.2%
Florida 36.1%
Nevada 25.8%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2014 American Community Survey


Table 1 presents data on people who currently live in the state where they were born, but there is another way to use this data. Instead of looking within a state to analyze who was born there and who was not, we can look at the distribution of all the states of current residence by the states where people were born (Figure 1). It is interesting to look at this table and ask ourselves: What varies among the set of states that makes for such different population distributions? It also begs the questions: Where do people born in these states move to and — particularly for the bottom five — where are they coming from?

To help answer these questions, we look at the two states at the extremes — Louisiana and Nevada. Of all people in the United States who were born in Louisiana, about 70 percent currently live there and about 30 percent are now scattered throughout the country. Most remain in the same general region. In comparison, only about one-quarter of people who were born in Nevada still live in Nevada. Just over 21 percent of Nevada’s current population was born outside the nation (i.e., in a U.S. island area or in a different country).



Using the second tool, we can look at the populations of Louisiana and Nevada going back to 1930. Below you can see a screen shot from the Historic Place of Birth Dashboard showing that from 1930 to 2010, Louisiana had a larger total population than Nevada, although Nevada’s population appears to be growing at a greater rate. When the ratio of the U.S. population born in a state to the state’s total population is greater than one, this indicates a net outmigration, or natives of the state have moved out at a higher rate than non-natives have moved into the state.

By using the data from Table 1 and the ratio of the total people born in a state to the state’s current population, we can make some assumptions about lifetime migration for Louisiana. About 77.7 percent of Louisiana’s population is made up of those who were born there, or “homegrowns,” (Table 1) meaning the remaining 22.3 percent are movers into Louisiana, or inmigrants. The ratio of 1.106 found on Figure 2 compares the population born in the state of Louisiana to Louisiana’s total population. This ratio means that homegrown Louisianans are about 10.6 percent larger a group than those currently residing in Louisiana. This indicates a net outmigration of homegrown Louisianans leaving compared to the number of inmigrants born elsewhere.

However, Nevada’s ratio of the population born in the state to Nevada’s current population is only 0.391. This implies that because Nevada’s current population is more than twice as large as the entire Nevada-born population, much of Nevada comprises people who moved to the state from somewhere else.

Using the 2014 state-to-state migration flows table, we know about 4.7 percent of Nevada’s population moved in from a different state in the last year, while the share of Louisiana’s inmigrants from other states and the national average is about 2.3 percent. In general, the migration rates for Nevada and Louisiana, including migration within the states, were 20.3 and 13.6 percent, respectively.

Together, these two products show how uniquely varied the populations are from state to state. Some states, like Louisiana, consist of people who are homegrown. Others, like Nevada, are made up of people from across the country.


You can find these data on place of birth and state-to-state migration flows, the Historic Place of Birth Dashboard, and more here.

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