If it’s not common knowledge that women in the US earn cents for every dollar a man makes (85 cents, according to Pew Research), it should be. [Note: we originally said it was 89 cents on the dollar, but that’s only for women age 25 to 34.] That’s not the only place where the gaps between the genders remain. For the STEM gap, new research shows the state-by-state differences.
The research, entitled Mind the (STEM) Gap, was performed by Typing.com, a free service for teachers and students all about teaching typing and other tech skills—like coding. They looked at the US Census Bureau’s American Community Surveys from 2015 and 2017 to determine where the gaps are widest and narrowest.
The chart above shows the gaps by state, according to the number of bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. It underscores one serious fact: Not a single US state has a population where more women than men have STEM degrees (though only 65 percent of STEM workers even earned a Bachelor’s). This data does not take into account the medical field—if you count that, woman do indeed have more bachelor’s degrees—but the debate rages on whether medical counts as STEM.
The states with the smallest gap: District of Columbia (6.8 percent) and New York (12.9 percent). The worst gaps are in New Mexico (22.5 percent) and Montana (22.3 percent).
Compared to 2015’s numbers, the gender gaps have narrowed in some states (North Dakota was down 5.7 percent) and grown in others (Alaska was up 3.0 percent). DC’s small gap for 2017 also came from a narrowing since 2015 of 3.6 percent.
Forget the degrees—there’s a large gender gap even for non-college-educated STEM workers. The narrowest gap between men and women in STEM is still best in DC at 13.8 percent—but the next best gap is a massive 38.0 percent in Maryland! The utter worst is Rhode Island, of all places, at 62.8 percent; the gap there has increased by 21.6 percent since 2015. Sure, not every state needs as much STEM work as every other, but the gender gaps are troubling at best.
The overall numbers of workers vs. those who earned bachelor’s is also a little troubling. While the number of women earning a STEM degree increased by 10 percent, the number increased for men, too. And the number of workers in STEM fields increased—men by 8.1 percent compared to 5.3 percent for women.