By Brad Tuttle
March 22, 2017

The gender pay gap may be shrinking, but at the current pace it will be decades before women earn equal pay for the same work done by men around the U.S. And in a few states, the pay gap wouldn’t close until the 22nd century.

These are the findings in a newly released study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). Researchers based their projections on an analysis of the earnings of women and men employed full-time in the U.S. between 1959 and 2015.

Given the rate of change over the past half-century, Florida is set to be the first state to eliminate the gender wage gap, in 2038, the analysis finds. Women are on pace to achieve pay parity in the United States as a whole a couple decades later, in 2059.

Yet researchers estimate that some states will lag severely behind the rest of country in terms of closing the wage gap. “A girl born in the United States in 2017 has a life expectancy of 87 years,” the report states. “In 2082, when she turns age 65, a wage gap will still remain in 13 states.”

According to IWPR projections, the wage gap will still exist in the 22nd century in North Dakota, Utah, Louisiana, and Wyoming — with the earnings gap on pace to close in 2102, 2106, 2115, and 2153, respectively. The other states where pay parity will take the longest to achieve are Arkansas (in 2082), Indiana (2082), Idaho (2083), Michigan (2084), Montana (2084), Mississippi (2088), South Carolina (2088), Alaska (2091), and West Virginia (2099).

Courtesy of The Institute for Women's Policy Research

Part of the pay gap in some states seems to come as a direct result of the local employment markets — for instance, if a disproportionally high percentage of jobs are in fields like energy and construction, which are dominated by men. “In those states, male earnings are relatively high and women’s earnings are relatively low,” Julie Anderson, a senior research associate at IWPR, explained to MarketWatch.

At the other end of the spectrum, Florida, California, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Arizona, Vermont, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Texas are all projected to close their wage gaps by 2050.

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