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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Study: Gender wage gap persists in Puerto Rico

The disparity in income is even greater when people’s educational level increases, according to the study.

By John McPhaul

The wage gap between men and women in Puerto Rico still persists, especially when educational and occupational levels are taken into account, according to an analysis released Thursday by ETI Trends, a publication prepared by Estudios Técnicos Inc. (ETI), based on recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s community survey.

The disparity in income is even greater when people’s educational level increases, according to the study.

“The median wages by educational level highlights a salary discrepancy between men and women despite the fact that wages by educational level for both genders continue to increase as more schooling is achieved. For example, the wage gap (that is, the difference between the median salary between men and women with similar educational levels) with post-secondary studies or an associate degree was $3,219 compared to $3,019 in the case of those who only had a high school diploma or equivalent,” said Lorena Franco, from ETI’s Economic Analysis and Policy Division, who prepared the analysis. “This gap tends to widen as the level of schooling is more advanced. The wage gap for those with a bachelor’s degree was $6,294 and $11,953 for those with a master’s degree, professional degree or doctorate.”

The data was published by the Census Bureau on March 17, with the results of the 2020 community survey.

The analysis also highlights a difference between wage growth with increasing educational level. For example, the increase in median wages for men with post-secondary education or an associate degree and those with a bachelor’s degree was $10,630, while for women it was $7,555. Likewise, the difference between the salary with a bachelor’s degree versus graduate studies was $14,156 for men and $8,497 for women. It follows that men obtain greater benefit than women by increasing their educational level, ETI Trends said in a press release.

It is also clear from the census data that, in terms of the educational level for the population over 25 years of age, women represented 61.1% of the total number of people with advanced studies (that is, associate degree, bachelor’s and master’s degree, professional degree or doctorate), compared to 38.9% in the case of men, the press release said.

“In 2020, the bachelor’s degree represented the academic level with the most marked difference in the amount of people; there were 277,433 women (62.5%) with this academic degree compared to 166,264 men (37.5%) with the same educational level,” the press release noted.

“The wage gaps by educational level for the two periods, 2015 and 2020, indicate a greater salary disadvantage in 2020 for women with an associate or post-secondary degree, high school with a diploma, and middle school or less,” Franco said. “On the other hand, the 2020 Census Bureau data for median salary by occupation shows an average gap of $2,605 between the salary of a man and a woman in the same occupation. In addition, the median salary of women is on average 6.3% below the median salary of men with the same occupation and -2.3% of the median salary for the occupation.”

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