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Women Paid Less Than Men in Nearly All Major U.S. Occupations

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You’ve likely heard the oft-cited statistic that full-time female workers make only 79 cents, on average, for every dollar that men make. However, if you’re a woman, have you ever wondered how your salary stacks up against those of your male colleagues? The Wall Street Journal recently conducted an examination of the gender pay gap, and found that women earn less than men in 439 of 446 major U.S. occupations—meaning, women only make as much or more than men in seven fields.

These findings remain consistent among both high- and low-paying occupations, as well as fields that are traditionally dominated by women. For instance, physicians and surgeons rank among some of America’s most educated and highly paid professionals. However, the WSJ discovered that female doctors make an average of $135,169 per year, whereas male physicians receive median earnings of $209,596. That’s a staggering 36 percent pay gap.

Men also make more than women in blue collar jobs. Women working as construction laborers earn, on average, 96 percent of their male colleagues’ salary of $31,843. Meanwhile, women working as water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators earn 91 percent of their male counterparts' $46,823 salaries.

Even industries that typically skew female weren’t immune to the pay gap. According to U.S. Census data, about 4 million workers in the United States worked as secretaries and administrative assistants between 2006 and 2010—and 96 percent of these individuals were women. However, the WSJ discovered that women working as receptionists and information clerks earn 89 percent of the wages of their male counterparts on average, taking home a median paycheck of $27,529 compared to the $31,041 that men receive.

Other Census numbers show that in 2013, there were more than two million registered nurses nationwide. Only 10 percent of them were men. However, women who work as registered nurses still make a median salary of $63,846. That’s only 92 percent of male nurses’ $69,500 salary.

The fields in which women did make more money than men were relatively surprising. Women working as crane and tower operators earn $54,701, which is 104 percent of men’s median earnings of $52,461. Female dietitians and nutritionists receive 101 percent of their male colleagues’ median salaries ($50,142 vs. $49,536, respectively). Other professions that seem to have some semblance of wage parity? Highway maintenance; telecommunications line installers and repairers; transportation, storage, and distribution managers; wood sawing machine settlers and operators; and meter readers or utilities professionals.

Curious to learn how much less (or, in a few rare instances, more) you’re making than men? Check out the WSJ's handy interactive graph, which lets you enter your profession and immediately calculates the median earnings for both men and women in that industry.

[h/t The Wall Street Journal]

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These Are the Top 25 U.S. Cities With the Lowest Cost of Living
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Coastal cities like New York and San Francisco bustle with excitement, but residents pay plenty of hard-earned cash to enjoy perks like Central Park and world-class museums—and to pay their sky-high rents. If you’d rather have a full bank account than a hipster ZIP code, consider setting down roots in America’s most affordable region: the Midwest.

Niche, a data analysis company, has ranked the 25 cities with the lowest cost of living across the United States—and the top 10 are all located in America’s heartland. Their selections were based on factors including access to affordable housing, food and fuel costs, and median tax rates, all of which were gleaned from U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Indiana was the most-represented state in the list’s top 10 section, with Fort Wayne, Evansville, and South Bend nabbing the first three spots. The remaining cities were mid-sized metropolitan areas in Kansas, Ohio, Iowa, and Illinois, all of which offer urban conveniences at a fraction of the cost of their coastal counterparts. After that, other cities in the mix included municipalities in Texas, Michigan, Alabama, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

Check out Niche's top 25 list below, and visit their website to view their methodology.

1. Fort Wayne, Indiana
2. Evansville, Indiana
3. South Bend, Indiana
4. Topeka, Kansas
5. Toledo, Ohio
6. Wichita, Kansas
7. Akron, Ohio
8. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
9. Davenport, Iowa
10. Springfield, Illinois
11. Rochester, Minnesota
12. Dayton, Ohio
13. Springfield, Missouri
14. Wichita Falls, Texas
15. Kansas City, Kansas
16. Odessa, Texas
17. Cleveland, Ohio
18. Indianapolis, Indiana
19. Abilene, Texas
20. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
21. Montgomery, Alabama
22. Lansing, Michigan
23. Des Moines, Iowa
24. Brownsville, Texas
25. Warren, Michigan

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Switzerland Flushes $1.8 Million in Gold Down the Sewer Every Year
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Switzerland has some pretty valuable sewer systems. As Bloomberg reports, scientists have discovered around $1.8 million worth of gold in the country's wastewater, along with $1.7 million worth of silver.

Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology examined sewage sludge and effluents, or discharged liquid waste, from 64 water treatment plants and major Swiss rivers. They did this to assess the concentrations of various trace elements, which are "increasingly widely used in the high-tech and medical sectors," the scientists explained in a press statement. "While the ultimate fate of the various elements has been little studied to date, a large proportion is known to enter wastewater."

The study, which was recently published online in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, revealed that around 94 pounds of gold makes its way through Switzerland's sewage system each year, along with 6600 pounds of silver and high concentrations of rare metals like gadolinium and niobium. For the most part, these metals don't harm the environment, researchers say.

With gold and silver quite literally flowing through their sewers, is there any way that Switzerland could turn their wastewater into wealth? Scientists are skeptical: "The recovery of metals from wastewater or sludge is scarcely worthwhile at present, either financially or in terms of the amounts which could be extracted," the release explains.

However, in the southern canton of Ticino, which is home to several gold refineries, the "concentrations of gold in sewage sludge are sufficiently high for recovery to be potentially worthwhile," they conclude.

Switzerland is famous for its chocolate, watches, and mountains, but it's also home to major gold refineries. On average, around 70 percent of the world's gold passes through Switzerland every year—and judging from the looks of it, much of it goes down the drain. As for the sewer silver, it's a byproduct of the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, which is a cornerstone of Switzerland's economy.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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