Hard at Work - Women in the Utah Labor Force
A list of facts about Women in Utah.
Updated: February 2014 / Data visualization
- For the first time in more than 100 years, Census 2000 showed Utah men out numbering Utah women. That pattern continued with the 2010 Census. The number of Utah males measured 1.39 million compared to 1.38 million females. An influx of male in-migrants appears to be the cause of the current change.
- In the 65 years-or-older category, Utah women outnumber Utah men by 20 percent.
- With 31 percent of its population under the age of 18, Utah has the youngest population in the nation (2012).
Marriage and Family
- According to the 2012 American Community Survey, 57 percent of Utah’s women (15 years and older) are married—down from 69 percent in 1950. A higher percentage of Utahns are married than in any other state in the nation.
- The share of Utah women who are divorced has increased from 2 percent in 1950 to 10 percent in 2012.
- The median age at first marriage in Utah measures 26.2 for the groom and 24.1 for the bride—lowest in the nation. The median age at first marriage in United States measures 29.1 for the groom and 27.1 for the bride.
- Utah women who have never married comprised 27 percent of all marriageable-age women in 2012 compared with 19 percent in 1950.
- Utah’s divorce rate typically runs slightly higher than the U.S. average and has done so for decades. In addition, the method of determining divorce rates understates Utah’s relative rate of divorce. In 2012, there were 3.4 divorces in Utah per 1,000 population. In 2010, (the most recent national comparisons available) Utah’s divorce rate measured 3.7 compared to the U.S. figure of 3.6.
- Divorce rates reached their peak in the early 80s and have since moderated.
- While Utahns are more likely than their national counterparts divorce, they are also more likely to marry and remarry.
- Utah’s birthrate of 18.0 births per thousand population far outstripped the national average of 12.6 births per thousand population in 2011. Utah’s birth rate has remained higher than the national average for decades and ranks as one of the highest in the nation.
- Although Utah’s birth rate remains relatively high, it has declined significantly from the 1950 rate of 30.5.
- Roughly 13 percent of Utah’s children live in households headed by women (with no husband present)—far lower than the national average of 25 percent (2012).
- Utah’s families are larger than the U.S. norm. Families in Utah include 3.64 persons in 2012 compared to 3.25 nationally. In 1960, the average Utah family included 3.99 persons.
- More than 5 percent of Utah families include seven or more members compared to only 2 percent nationally (2012).
- In 2012, 91 percent of Utah women aged 25 and older had graduated from high school. Utah men also showed a high school graduation rate of roughly 91 percent. Nationally, high school graduation rates equaled 87 percent for women and 86 percent for men.
- Roughly 28 percent of Utah women had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2012 compared to 29 percent of U.S. women. Utah men showed a 33 percent rate of college graduation in contrast to the U.S. average of 29 percent.
- While prior to 1990 Utah women showed a higher rate of college graduation than U.S. women, by 2000, Utah women had lost their “bachelor’s degree or higher” educational edge.
- Utah shows by far the largest gap in the nation between male and female college-graduation rates. Nationally, men and women show the same shares of population with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Utah women are getting more education, but are not keeping up with their male or U.S. female counterparts.
- In 2012, roughly 61 percent of Utah women over the age of 16—were participants in the labor market. Nationally, 59 percent of women were in the labor force.
- In 1900, 13 percent of Utah women worked outside the home; in 1940, about a fourth; in 2000, 61 percent.
- The influx of women into the labor market has been relatively steady. Participation rates have increased by about 8 percentage points each decade, then plateaued after 2000.
- Women currently comprise more than 44 percent of the Utah labor force.
- Utah women fell behind U.S. women in labor force participation until 1980. Since that point, Utah women have shown higher participation rates than the national average.
- Labor force participation is higher for Utah women partially because of the state’s young labor force (younger women are more likely to work).
- Utah women aged 20 to 24 are most likely to work.
- More than 58 percent of married Utah women work outside the home. Roughly 72 percent of never-married women participate in the labor force as do 74 percent of divorced women.
- More than 73 percent of Utah’s mothers with only school-age children participate in the labor market (2012).
- About 61 percent of Utah’s mothers of preschool-age children work.
- Women with both preschool and school-age children are least likely to participate in the labor force (51 percent).
- Summit, Salt Lake, Grand, Beaver, Cache Kane and Wayne counties exhibit the highest female labor force participation in Utah (over 62 percent).
- Utah women in metropolitan areas, counties with high tourism-related employment or regions with younger workforces are more likely to work outside the home.
- Daggett, Piute, Duchesne, Washington and San Juan counties show the lowest female labor force participation (2008-2012). These counties also typically show lower-than-average male participation rates due to their relatively high levels of 65-years-and-older populations.
- Utah women generally experience higher unemployment rates than do Utah men. The exception is during recessionary periods when male jobless rates exceed those of females.
- Women make up the largest share of discouraged workers both in Utah and the U.S. Discouraged workers are those which have stopped looking for work because they believe they cannot find a job..
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012, roughly 38 percent of Utah women in the labor force were part-time workers compared to 25 percent of U.S. women.
- The average Utah woman aged 16-64 worked 33 hours per week in 2012—behind Utah men with an average of 40 hours per week.
- Slightly more than 7 percent of all female Utah workers are self-employed. Less than 5 percent of Utah male workers are self-employed (2012).
- During 2007 (the most recent data available), women owned roughly 61,500 Utah businesses--one-fourth of all firms. Nationally, women owned 29 percent of businesses.
- Utah women are most likely to work in the following industries: Healthcare/social assistance, educational services and retail trade. They are least likely to work in mining, construction, wholesale trade, utilities and management of companies.
- Notable numbers of women have moved into several nontraditional occupations over the past fifty years. For example, in 1960 only 4 percent of Utah physicians and surgeons were women compared to 26 percent today.
- However, women account for about the same share of clerical employment now as they did in 1960.
- Few Utah women have moved into the blue-collar occupations that have traditionally employed men. Today only 1 percent of Utah’s carpenters are women. Moreover, some occupations (such as elementary/secondary school teachers) have shown even greater female density over time.
- In Utah, major occupations maintaining high concentrations of female workers in 2006-2010 include health care support (lower-skilled health care positions, 84 percent), personal care/service (79 percent), office/administrative (71 percent) and education/training/library (70 percent) occupations. (American Community Survey EEO Tabulation, 2006-2010)
- Utah women are notably lacking in construction/extraction (2 percent), installation/maintenance/repair (4 percent), architecture/engineering (12 percent) and transportation/moving (17 percent) occupations.
- Females make up roughly half of Utah employment in business/financial operations (48 percent), sales/related (47 percent) and arts/design/entertainment/sports/media (44 percent) occupations.
- Occupations where Utah women gained an employment share of 2 percentage points or more include protective services (such as police and firefighters), food preparation and serving, and transportation moving occupations.
- Major occupations where Utah women lost employment share include business and financial operations, community/social services, arts/design/entertainment/sports/media, health care practitioners/technical, personal/care and service, office and administrative (clerical), farming/fishing/forestry and production occupations.
- Occupations where Utah women comprise a much smaller share of employment than U.S. women include management, business/financial, computer/mathematical, life/physical/social science, community/social services, legal, healthcare practitioners/technical.
- Utah women are much less likely to be employed in occupations requiring higher education than are U.S. women. These occupations also tend to be among the highest paying occupations.
- Utah women show a larger share of occupational employment than U.S. women in protective services, food preparation/serving and personal care/service occupations. Food preparation and personal care positions typically pay noticeably lower-than-average wages. The comparative shortage of Utah women in higher-paying occupations undoubtedly contributes to Utah’s higher-than-average male/female wage gap.
- Detailed occupations where Utah women comprise at least 90 percent of employment include several healthcare-related occupations: occupational therapy assistants, medical transcriptionists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dieticians/nutritionists and medical assistants.
- Utah females also account for more than 90 percent of employment in two occupations which relate to the care of younger children—preschool/kindergarten teachers and childcare workers.
- Other occupations showing 90-percent or more female employment include cosmetologists, other personal care workers, teacher assistants, tailors, billing clerks and proofreaders. This roster closely mirrors the 2000 Census list of occupations with 90-percent or greater female employment.
- On the flip side of the coin, most of the Utah occupations maintaining female employment below 10 percent fall into three basic categories: construction, mechanics and transportation workers (drivers and pilots). In addition, fewer than 8 percent of network administrators are female.
- Current occupational tabulations from the American Community Survey show more than 50 detailed occupations with no female workers. The vast majority of these occupations fall in what is typically considered the “blue collar” category.
- The significant number of different data series makes providing a definitive figure for the gap between men’s and women’s earnings difficult.
- Data from the 2012 American Community Survey for Utah shows the median earnings for year-round, full-time male workers at $48,540. The comparable figure for female workers measures $34,062.
- Utah women working full-time made 70 percent of median male earnings. Nationally, women fared far better making 79 percent of the median male earnings.
- Utah had the fourth largest wage gap in the nation in 2012, bettering its 1990 performance when Utah showed the widest gap in the nation.
- Regardless of the data series used, the wage gap statewide and nationally has decreased since 1980.
- By age, the wage gap is smallest for women between 20 and 24.
- Counties with the largest male/female wage gaps include a notable number of natural-resource-heavy economies: Uintah, Carbon, Emery, Rich and Duchesne County.
- Counties with relatively small (or nonexistent) wage gaps include Grand, Kane, Wayne and San Juan counties. These counties tend to have large (low-paying) leisure/hospitality services sectors.
- Based on educational attainment, the smallest wage gap occurs for Utah men and women with graduate or professional degrees. Those with some college or an associate degree showed the largest wage gap (2008-2012).
- Blacks, Asians and Hispanics show a much smaller wage gap (2008-2012) than do white/non-Hispanics, Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders and Native American Indians.
- For workers working fulltime/year-round, many of the occupations with the smallest wage gap are either low-pay/low-skilled or dominated by one gender or the other.
- Occupational choice is the largest factor in the wage gap. Other demographic factors—less education, less occupational tenure, etc. also contribute to the difference in men’s and women’s earnings.
- No study has explained away the wage gap using the differing demographic characteristics of men and women suggesting that institutional discrimination does exist.
- In 2012, according to the American Community Survey, 35 percent of Utah female-headed families with children had incomes below the poverty line. In comparison, only 6 percent of married couple families with children were in poverty.