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Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Women of New York City

New York women are different, especially those who live in Manhattan. They are much more likely to be single, earn more money, and have more education than women living in the rest of the United States. And while the same percent of New York women are working as women elsewhere in the country, the jobs they are doing are much different. These are some of the significant results from an analysis of data from the 2005 Census.

About 45 percent of New York City women ages 25 to 64 ever married. In Manhattan, it’s just 37 percent. Elsewhere in the country, however, some 61 percent of women live with a spouse. Manhattan is one of the counties with the highest percent of those living on their own in the United States. Table 1 shows the proportion living with a spouse for men and women in two age ranges. As is plain from that table, those living in Manhattan and the outer boroughs follow a very different pattern than those in the rest of the United States.

Among those 25 to 64, while 63 percent of all Manhattan women have at least four years of college, slightly less than 30 percent of outer borough and other women in the United States have that level of educational achievement. When it comes to holding a job, 69 percent of Manhattan women, 60 percent of outer borough women, and 67 percent of women living elsewhere were working. When one looks at the type of jobs held by women in Manhattan compared to the rest of the United States the differences are striking. Though relatively small proportions, Manhattan women are much more likely to be actresses (about 14 times), authors(about 9 times); lawyers and judges (about 9 times), as well as dancers, photographers, stock and bond salesmen, psychologists, editors and reporters, architects, artists, economists, designers, physicians and surgeons and a range of other professions than in the rest of the United States.

Considering earnings, Table 2 present some information for women working full time in various occupations. In most occupations, men out-earn women. But this is especially true in Manhattan for law, medicine and stock and bonds salesmen. In each of these areas men out-earn women by more than two to one. Even the very high levels of education for Manhattan women do not wipe out this disparity. But female secretaries, designers and authors in Manhattan do earn more than men in those fields.

Women with a spouse in Manhattan have much higher household income, but have lower earnings than those who do not have a spouse. For men, however, those with a spouse have much higher earnings and household income than those without. The pattern is much less marked for those living in the outer boroughs or in the rest of the United States. This suggests that some women in Manhattan though working do not contribute to the family or household income as much proportionately as do their male spouse. This is directly related to the occupational income gaps between men and women in Manhattan. Remember, the very high income professions, such as law and financestill are predominantly male, at least at the highest income levels, even if more women are in them in Manhattan than any where else.

Andrew A. Beveridge has taught sociology at Queens College since 1981, done demographic analyses for the New York Times since 1993, and been in charge of Gotham Gazette's demographics topic page since 2000. The opinions expressed are his alone. 

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