Reverse Gender Gap: Study Says Young, Childless Women Earn More Than Men

As women under 30 pursue college, they're earning more in the workplace.

September 1, 2010, 6:27 PM

Sept. 1, 2010 — -- A growing number of women across the country are upending the conventional wisdom about a gender gap in pay.

These women earn 8 percent more on average than their male counterparts, according to a new study of Census data from Reach Advisors, a market research firm.

But there's a big caveat -- the so-called reverse gender gap applies only to women who are unmarried, without children and younger than 30-years-old.

Watch "World News" for more on this story tonight on ABC.

Why are younger women experiencing a sudden reversal of the traditional gender pay gap in the workplace? The answer can be found in any college classroom.

"The more educated you are, the more chances of success you have," said Stacy Francis, president and founder of Francis Financial. "Women are out-earning men, and a lot of the reason is that we tend to become more educated."

For every two men who graduate college today, three women do, and college graduates earn almost $30,000 more per year, on average, than high school grads. According to data from the Census Bureau, the average salary for a high school graduate is $37,303, while college graduates earn $66,445 per year on average.

In some cities, the reverse gap is even more pronounced. Young women aren't just earning more than the guys -- they're clobbering them.

In New York, young, unmarried women earn 17 percent more than men.

In Los Angeles, they earn 12 percent more, and they enjoy 14 percent more in both Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C.

"In a larger city such as New York and some of the other larger cities, we tend to see that younger women in their 20s to age 30 are very, very career driven and tend to earn quite a bit during that time period," said Francis.

Young Women Reverse the Gender Gap

One of those young women, Danielle Fennoy, is a top designer in New York who's not afraid to charge a premium for her work.

"People take you seriously when you are expensive. That's why I charge what I charge," said Fennoy. "[The study] gives me actually a little more encouragement to raise my prices even more."

Despite the good news for younger women, for those over 30, the gap in pay remains, with women earning 80 cents on average for every dollar that men do.

"We have to remember as we read these statistics, women have made very big strides but, again, this is a very small population" of women that have reversed the gap, Francis said.

Still, for thousands of young women across the country, the news is reason to hope for the future and celebrate. They'll have no problem picking up the tab.

Click here to return to the "World News" page.