The highest-paid men earn over $200,000 more than the highest-paid women in the US —  and in some states it’s even more

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The difference is huge. Michael Dodge / Stringer / Getty Images

Men at the top are really raking it in.

While the average salary for the top 2% of earners in the US is $US206,000, the highest-paid men out-earn women by a staggering $US226,000 on average, according to an analysis of the 2015 American Community Survey by labour economics research firm Job Search Intelligence (JSI).

The difference is bigger in some states than others. Alaska has the smallest gap, with men making $US50,000, on average, more than women in the top 2%. In Connecticut, which has the largest pay gap, men earn $US444,000, on average, more than the highest-paid women.

Below, you can see how much the highest-paid men and women earn in each state:

Top earners men and women

In 49 states, the average salary for a woman in the top 2% is below the national average of $US206,000. Only women in Connecticut and Washington DC earn more than $US206,000 on average.

By contrast, salaries for men in the top 2% surpass the national average in all but five states: Alaska, Indiana, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Among all earners in the top 2%, men out-earn women by an average of $US226,000.

In many states, the average male salary in the top 2% actually qualifies for the top 1%, which requires annual income of at least $US389,436, based on calculations by the Economic Policy Institute. The average female salary does not qualify for the top 1% in any state.

In fact so few women make it into the top 1% in some states that, to protect anonymity, salary data is not reported by gender, according to JSI. That’s why we compared earnings among the top 2%, instead of the more standard top 1% of earners.

Explaining the wage gap isn’t easy: Occupation, industry, and tenure likely contribute to the majority of the pay gap, according to a report published in the Academy of Management Perspectives. But the report also found that unexplained factors, including discrimination, could still account for a significant portion of the discrepancy.

There is good news, however. While only 20% of senior executives are women, female CEOs tend to out-earn their male counterparts. In 2016, median CEO pay for women was $US13.1 million, compared to $US11.4 for men.

Ultimately, the gender pay gap for the top 2% of earners likely indicates that women are underrepresented in senior leadership roles. Until that changes, the difference in pay among the highest-earners is likely to persist.

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