Closing The Gap

This map shows which states have the biggest gender pay gaps

Tomas Rodriguez | Getty Images

The gender pay gap — the gap between the median salaries of all working men and women in the U.S. — is often estimated at around 80 cents earned by women for every dollar earned by a man.

When controlled for factors such as race, the gap widens further. Black women earn 61 cents for every dollar earned by their white male counterparts. Native American women earn 58 cents to every dollar, and Latina women earn 53 cents.

Another variable that dramatically impacts how much men and women make is geography.

Job search site Zippia analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the American Community Survey and compared the median annual earnings of year-round, full-time workers (those who worked 35 or more hours per week for at least 50 weeks of the year) including wages, salaries and self-employment incomes of men and women in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

What they found was that where you live significantly impacts how much you make — especially if you're a woman.

"We were surprised by two trends," Chris Kolmar, co-founder of Zippia, tells CNBC Make It. "One, how static the gender pay gap has been over the past 14-plus years, and two, that there is such extreme geographic disparities — the top quintile is some 15 percentage points better than the bottom quintile."

This map from Zippia illustrates the states with the largest and the smallest gender pay gaps:

Courtesy of Zippia

Here's how big the gender pay gap — as defined as women's earnings as a percentage of men's, based on the median annual earnings of year-round, full-time workers — is in each state:

Raphye Alexius | Getty Images

1. Louisiana

Pay gap: 31.1%

2. Utah

Pay gap: 29.8%

3. West Virginia

Pay gap: 29.1%

4. Wyoming

Pay gap: 29.0%

5. North Dakota

Pay gap: 26.9%

6. Indiana

Pay gap: 26.0%

7. Montana

Pay gap: 25.5%

8. Oklahoma

Pay gap: 25.5%

9. Idaho

Pay gap: 25.5%

10. Alabama

Pay gap: 25.4%

Hero Images | Getty Images

11. South Dakota

Pay gap: 23.9%

12. Nebraska

Pay gap: 23.2%

13. Mississippi

Pay gap: 23.1%

14. Kansas

Pay gap: 23.0%

15. Washington

Pay gap: 23.0%

16. New Hampshire

Pay gap: 23.0%

17. Iowa

Pay gap: 22.8%

18. Missouri

Pay gap: 22.2%

19. Michigan

Pay gap: 22.2%

20. Virginia

Pay gap: 21.9%

Hero Images | Getty Images

21. South Carolina

Pay gap: 21.8%

22. Ohio

Pay gap: 21.8%

23. Illinois

Pay gap: 21.7%

24. Pennsylvania

Pay gap: 21.3%

25. Kentucky

Pay gap: 21.3%

26. Wisconsin

Pay gap: 20.6%

27. Maine

Pay gap: 20.4%

28. Texas

Pay gap: 20.3%

29. New Jersey

Pay gap: 20.0%

30. Connecticut

Pay gap: 19.9%

Hill Street Studios | Getty Images

31. Alaska

Pay gap: 19.8%

32. Arkansas

Pay gap: 19.6%

33. New Mexico

Pay gap: 19.6%

34. Tennessee

Pay gap: 19.3%

35. Oregon

Pay gap: 19.1%

36. Massachusetts

Pay gap: 18.5%

37. Minnesota

Pay gap: 18.5%

38. Georgia

Pay gap: 18.4%

39. Nevada

Pay gap: 18.1%

40. Hawaii

Pay gap: 17.8%

Hoxton/Sam Edwards | Getty Images

41. Colorado

Pay gap: 17.7%

42. North Carolina

Pay gap: 17.3%

43. Rhode Island

Pay gap: 16.7%

44. Vermont

Pay gap: 16.5%

45. Arizona

Pay gap: 15.9%

46. Maryland

Pay gap: 15.4%

47. Delaware

Pay gap: 14.9%

48. Florida

Pay gap: 14.6%

49. New York

Pay gap: 12.9%

50. District of Columbia

Pay gap: 12.3%

51. California

Pay gap: 12.2%

A woman and man work at their desks.

Kolmar notes that many of the states with the smallest pay gaps have strong legislation that encourages and enforces equal pay. "We also noticed that there is a correlation between the number of laws in a state regarding equal pay and the gender pay gap — more laws correlates with a smaller gap," he says.

In 2005, New York had a pay gap of 20.5%. In 2019, that figure was closer to 12.9%. During that time, New York passed several pieces of legislation aimed at closing the gender pay gap, including The New York State Fair Pay Act.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) reports that just two states, Alabama and Mississippi, have no legal equal pay protections. According to Zippia's research, these states have above-average pay gaps of 25.4% and 23.1%, respectively.

Of note, Zippia's analysis does not take part-time workers' earnings into consideration, or the earnings of undocumented workers. These figures would likely impact the results of the analysis.

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