Michigan 4th worst in gender-based income inequality

Oct 19, 2012

Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment from the second presidential debate became an instant Internet meme, but it also brought attention to the issue of income inequality based on gender.

It’s an issue with particular relevance for Michigan.

The state ranks fourth in the country for the largest pay gap between men and women.

As MLive’s Jonathan Oosting reports, on average, working women in Michigan make 62 cents for every dollar working men make.

A new graphic published by Slate magazine uses income data from a 2010 Census survey to compare inequality on the state and county level. 

The breakdown by county shows Oscoda with the greatest income disparity in Michigan. Women in the northern Lower Peninsula county made 44 cents for every dollar made by men.

Houghton faired the best. Women there make 84 cents for every dollar men make.  

As Oosting notes, the disparity persists even though women in Michigan are obtaining bachelor’s degrees at similar (if not higher) rates than men.

A report from the Center for American Progress calls for new labor standards to address the disparity and the increased role of women in the workplace. These include flexible workplace schedules, paid family and medical leave, and concerted attempts to end discrimination against pregnant women and caregivers.

- Jordan Wyant, Michigan Radio Newsroom