Why Young Women Are Earning More Than Men in Many US Cities

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In specific places, young women earn more than men—in some cases, up to 20% more. Why has wage inequality reversed in some regions?

The US state of West Virginia is often remembered for its coal mines and country roads—but not for its role in discussions of the gender pay gap.

According to a new study by the US think tank Pew Research Center, which analyzed US census data, the Morgantown metropolitan area — the third largest city in the state, home to the University of West Virginia — is one of the few places in the country where women earn more than men.

In that region, the average salary of female full-time workers under the age of 30 is 14% higher than the average salary of men in the same age group. In fact, this city in the Appalachians is second in a list of 10 metropolitan areas where women under 30 earn comparatively higher wages—behind only the city of Wenatchee, Washington.

Nationally, the gender pay gap persists. On average, American women earn the equivalent of 82% of men’s wages. But in 22 of the 250 metropolitan areas analyzed, women’s salaries are equal or better.

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