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Study: Utah Women’s Wages Among Worst in U.S.

Latinas in Utah make only 47 cents for each dollar men earn, according to a study pointing out the wage gap across the United States. The national average for women is 79 cents on the dollar. (DougBerry/iStock)
Latinas in Utah make only 47 cents for each dollar men earn, according to a study pointing out the wage gap across the United States. The national average for women is 79 cents on the dollar. (DougBerry/iStock)
April 13, 2016

JSALT LAKE CITY - As millions across the country noted Equal Pay Day this week, women in Utah found very little to celebrate. The pay gap between women and men in Utah is the second widest in the country, at 33 cents on the dollar, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.

Rachel Lyons, the group's senior government affairs manager, said that means full-time working women in Utah lose about $5.5 billion a year.

"For women who are working full time year around in Utah, they earned 67 cents on the dollar compared to men," she said. "For Latinas in Utah, it's 47 cents, and for Asian women in Utah, it's 60 cents on the dollar."

Nationally, women make 79 cents on the dollar compared with men, Lyons said, meaning that women, their families, businesses and the economy suffer as a result. If the wage gap were eliminated, she said, working women in Utah could buy two additional years of groceries for their families and could make an additional year's worth of mortgage and utility payments.

Lyons said the wage gap persists across the country, regardless of the industry or the education level, and is present in almost all occupations. She added that her group's research shows that about 40 percent of the wage gap can be attributed to bias and discrimination, and that doesn't appear to be changing.

"We've done this every year, and unfortunately, the wage gap is not closing," she said. "We see a slight increase and a small trend, but to us, it's the unfortunate truth that the wage gap remains in every state."

Lyons warned that politicians of all stripes should pay attention. Statistics show that 70 percent of Republican women, 83 percent of independent women and 88 percent of Democratic women say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports equal pay for women.

Data is online for the nation and for Utah.

Mark Richardson/Dallas Heltzell, Public News Service - UT