Data: Female Clergy Earn Less Than Male Counterparts


Female clergy earn less on average than their male counterparts, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The data was analyzed by Tobin Grant, a blogger for Religion News Service who found female clergy members earn 90 cents for every $1 male clergy members earn.

That's up from 76 cents on the dollar reported in 2014, but Grant says the data is misleading.

"It’s unlikely that female clergy actually experienced a 21 percent raise in pay," Grant wrote. "The change reflects the sensitivity of the estimates caused by the relatively few female clergy in the data. There are enough to make a report, but there is less stability in the figures than for other groups."

Census information provides a look at overall salary figures. According to the Census Bureau, which surveyed 3,997 clergymen and women in 2014, male clergy members earned an average of $44,164 that year, while women earned $38,533.

The census and labor data does not differentiate between clergy of different faiths, and it's not clear if the numbers are weighted to account for religious groups -- like the Catholic Church and Islam -- which have only male clergy members.

Clergy members are occupied mostly in the religious and health care sectors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Aside from direct religious service, clergy are listed in categories for general medical care and surgical hospitals, home health care and nursing care facilities.

The most well-paid clergy members are rabbis and Christian megachurch pastors, according to a 2010 survey by the American Jewish newspaper Forward, reports Slate. Pastors with congregations numbering more than 2,000 earn $147,000 on average, according to the survey, while pastors at the largest megachurches can earn more than $400,000.

Sources: Religion News Service, Slate, Bureau of Labor Statistics / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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