These 19 States Probably Won't Achieve Equal Pay In Your Lifetime

by Cate Carrejo
Andrew Burton/Getty Images News/Getty Images

As millions of millennial women are starting to find out, the job market can be a very unforgiving place if you're a lady. A recently released report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research detailed the grim outlook for women who have the audacity to believe they should be paid the same as men. The good news is that the U.S. on average should hit pay parity in 2059, but some states will have to wait much, much longer. Approximately 19 states won't achieve equal pay in your lifetime, unless everyone comes together to do something about it.

Wyoming hit the top of the list, with an estimated 136 years to close the wage gap. That's super depressing, but it's also a great example of how the wage gap actually works. The sociological phenomenon isn't often explained very well, leaving plenty of critics to argue that it doesn't exist. But in Wyoming, where the primary industries are male-dominated fields like mining and construction, women don't have the same access to higher-paying jobs.

Even if women did significantly break into those industries, research shows that pay across the entire sector would fall, just because women are taking those jobs. Other factors, such as family commitments, also limit women's ability to earn, but that shouldn't be ascribed to "individual choice" and left at that. The country needs a cultural restructuring to de-genderize careers and family responsibilities, because "women's work" should be valued just as highly as men's.

States That Should Have Equal Pay In Your Lifetime

I'm going to use my own birth year (1995) and the average lifespan of the American woman (about 79 years) to determine which states you're likely to see reach pay parity. Somewhat surprisingly, Florida is projected to be the first state to reach equal pay, in 2038. After that comes California, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Arizona, Vermont, Delaware, Texas, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Tennessee, Washington D.C., Oregon, Massachusetts, Colorado, Georgia, Connecticut, Maine, North Carolina, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Washington, and Kansas. Luckily, that's the vast majority of the states, so most of the country will have equal pay by 2074.

States That Maaaaybe Will Have Equal Pay

Let's say you have good genes, or you're an ultra-marathoner who's going to live to be 100. By 2095, a few more states will hit the equal pay mark: Virginia, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Arkansas, Indiana, Idaho, South Dakota, Michigan, Montana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska. Personally, I don't even know if I'm going to make it that long, because I'm so stressed out about this gender inequality right now.

States That Definitely Won't Have Equal Pay Before You Die

Unless you're literally not human, you're very, very unlikely to live to see equal pay in five states. West Virginia is projected to hit pay equity by 2099, North Dakota by 2102, Utah by 2106, and Louisiana in 2115. Wyoming rounds out the pack in 2153.

So this is a little depressing, but let it inspire you to work harder, both in your career and in your activism, so that women can speed up this timeline. Equal Pay Day isn't supposed to be a pity party — it's a reminder that the road ahead is long, but still finite