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Figure This!


Complete Solution:

Based only on the data given, the statement appears to be untrue, at least in the near future.

Over the long run, however, it appears that women's salaries may reach or exceed men's if the trends indicated by these data continue.

There are several ways to think about this problem. Your answer depends on your assumptions.

Find the difference between men's salaries and women's salaries in each year, then look for a trend. Using this method, the gap appears to be growing in favor of men:

Median Salary:
Median Salary:
Men's Salaries - Women's Salaries

Alternate Solution #1:



Another way to think about the data is to draw a graph with the year on the horizontal axis and salaries on the vertical axis:

Plot the salary data for women, then connect the data points in order. On the same graph, plot and connect the data points for men's salary. As shown in the following graph, men’s salaries are greater than women's for every data point. From the data up to 1998, the two graphs look like they will never cross, which may lead you to predict that men's salaries will remain higher than women’s. You may need more information to predict the future.



Alternate Solution #2:

A third way to analyze this information is to compare the percent increase in salaries for both men and women. For the period from 1991 to 1997, the percent increases are:

If this trend continues, women's salaries will eventually meet and then exceed men's salaries.



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