A recent article on USA Today claims that on male nurses make more than female nurses:

even in an occupation that women overwhelmingly dominate, they [women] still earn less than men


The gender gap for registered nurses' salaries amounts to a little over $5,000 yearly on average and it hasn't budged in more than 20 years. That pay gap may not sound big — it's smaller than in many other professions.

The article also states that only 10% of all nurses are male and 90% are female.

I am not sure whether this true or not. Is there any evidence to support the above claims?

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    The article ends with, "The study didn't examine why the pay gap exists, but Muench listed several possible reasons: [...] Muench said studies are needed to determine whether any of these explains the gap."
    – ChrisW
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 14:27
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    By this logic, women should be paid more in male-dominated fields, right? I don't see this happening in real life.
    – Is Begot
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 14:30
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    @coleopterist is this really gender discrimination is what I'm looking for.
    – Himarm
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 14:33
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    @Geobits This logic don't hold once you take into account things like Maternity leave and other female-only benefits. In my country, a woman can get up to six months of maternity leave. That's half of the year, not working. And that's regulated by law, is not the choice of the employer. This sometimes makes them compensate this paying less for a worker that, for reasons outside their control, can get six months of paid vacation.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 14:40
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    @Thales That's a completely separate argument than "there are fewer male nurses so it's natural they get paid more" as made by the OP. I agree there are many complicating factors.
    – Is Begot
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 14:43

1 Answer 1


The current incarnation of the question merely asks if there is evidence to support the claim of a gender pay gap in nurses in the USA.

This is easily demonstrated as the article provides a link to a study published as a Research Letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association:

The study looked at two large longitudinal surveys (one from 1988-2008, the other from 2001-2013). As reported, in more recent one, the 10% male figure is correct (20,616 men of 205,825 Registered Nurses).

As reported, the gender pay gap accounted for a little over $5,000 p.a. and hasn't changed over a twenty year period. (Note: that period ended in 2008, not 2013.)

Both surveys showed that the unadjusted male salaries were higher than female salaries during every year. [...] No statistically significant changes in female vs male salary were found over time. Using the [older survey], regression analysis estimated an overall adjusted earnings difference of $5148 (P < .001)

Confounding factors they considered for the regression analysis include:

demographic factors, work hours, experience, work setting, clinical speciality, job position, survey year, state of residence and other factors.

So, the quoted excerpts in the USA Today newspaper article are backed by the referenced journal article.

  • Funny, this couldn't happen in Quebec (Canada) since the are all unionized. Maybe that's one argument for the unionists.
    – Zonata
    Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 19:36
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    @Zonata: I will believe that when I see an equivalent study, union or no union.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 23:41

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