Best Paying Metros for Women

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As of January 2022, women make up 47% of the US workforce.1 That percentage has rebounded since the COVID-19 pandemic when the number of working women in the US dropped roughly 6.5%.2 Now, as workforce participation evens out and we see more women in the workforce than before, pay is still slow to keep up.

Male median earnings average just over 19% higher when compared with female earnings.3 (When accounting for race and ethnicity, the percentage grows.) And in 2021, female weekly earnings only accounted for 83.1% of male weekly earnings.4

So where can women go to be paid fairly? We found a few places that actually pay female employees well—including six metro areas that pay women parity or more.

BORG-Top Paying Metros for Women 2022_Map

Key Findings

  • Six of the states in our top 10—New Mexico, Florida, Arizona, California, Nevada, and Alaska—ranked in the top 10 of our gender pay gap report.
  • Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, and California are the only states to repeat in the top 15 with the lowest women’s pay gaps.
  • Florida has two metro areas in the top 10. . . and one metro area in the bottom 5. Michigan also has two metro areas in the top 15 and one in the bottom 15. While Florida surprised us (they rank at #8 for pay gap in the US), Michigan wasn’t a surprise since they pay 21.6% less to women than men overall.
  • Louisiana had three metro areas in the bottom five, which didn’t surprise us considering our gender pay gap report found that Louisiana has one of the highest pay gaps in the country. (Female workers earn 27% less than male workers.)
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Rankings

Top 15 metros with the lowest women’s pay gap

Rank
City, State
Male median salary
Female median salary
Female income as a % of male income
1Fairbanks, AK$52,261$58,573112%
2Staunton, VA$45,786$50,118109%
3Jacksonville, NC$35,904$39,207109%
4Carson City, NV$42,012$45,668109%
5Napa, CA$62,617$64,213103%
6Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA$54,065$53,928100%
7Naples-Marco Island, FL$47,346$46,94599%
8Las Cruces, NM$45,022$43,73697%
9Homosassa Springs, FL$44,954$43,46497%
10Hot Springs, AR$40,505$38,63795%
11Lansing-East Lansing, MI$52,275$49,73295%
12Racine, WI$52,526$49,85595%
13Watertown-Fort Drum, NY$46,932$44,29694%
14Kalamazoo-Portage, MI$52,634$49,60094%
15Grand Junction, CO$54,344$50,66993%

Bottom 15 metros with the highest women’s pay gap

Rank
City, State
Male median salary
Female median salary
Female income as a % of male income
1Lake Charles, LA$62,715$37,26559%
2Houma-Thibodaux, LA$61,518$38,78063%
3Michigan City-La Porte, IN$64,131$40,59463%
4The Villages, FL$60,617$38,51064%
5Hammond, LA$50,433$32,42464%
6Provo-Orem, UT$65,071$42,15465%
7Lima, OH$54,113$35,17165%
8Kennewick-Richland, WA$64,365$41,90565%
9Idaho Falls, ID$60,797$39,84166%
10California-Lexington Park, MD$85,765$56,88766%
11Parkersburg-Vienna, WV$55,028$36,50266%
12Mobile, AL$53,978$36,31767%
13Cape Girardeau, MO-IL$51,673$34,77867%
14Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX$61,821$41,85968%
15Niles, MI$61,941$42,14768%
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The Gender Pay Gap and Entrepreneurship

We know that the gender pay gap is bad across the US, but in researching the best paying metros for women, we found that five metro areas pay women more, on average, than men. (A few of these metro areas are also the best cities for women to start a business.)

Many women are also turning to their own small business ideas instead of working for companies. Entrepreneurship allows women to set equitable pay bands and treat all workers fairly—especially since many female employees face sexism in the workplace. The hard part is finding funding for those endeavors, which can be tricky.

Although many metro areas in the US grossly underpay female employees compared with male employees, the tide appears to be changing. We were pleasantly surprised to find this year that five metro areas paid female employees more than male employees.

Who knows—maybe next year we’ll see an even greater number of states hitting parity and we can slowly begin saying goodbye to the wage gap.

Methodology

To find the top-paying metros for women, we ranked each based on female income as a percentage of male income. In order to accurately compare, we used the median income of only full-time, year-round workers in each respective area, as reported in the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey (the most recent year for which data is available).

Sources

  1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey,” US Department of Labor, January 20, 2022. Accessed November 7, 2022.
  2. Statista, “Number of employed women in the United States from 1990 to 2021,” Statista Research Department, September 30, 2022. Accessed November 7, 2022.
  3. The Women’s Bureau, “Median annual earnings by sex, race and Hispanic ethnicity,” US Department of Labor, 2021. Accessed November 7, 2022.
  4. The Women’s Bureau, “Gender earnings ratios by weekly and annual earnings,” US Department of Labor, 2021. Accessed November 7, 2022.
Alex Kerai
Written by
Alex Kerai
Alex reports on emerging consumer trends. Previously he was a staff writer for Business.org, with a focus on inventory management and ecommerce. He also started and wrote the Simple Solutions newsletter that was delivered to Business.org email subscribers each week, featuring news and interviews with business leaders and academics across the world. His writing on consumer trends can also be seen on Reviews.org, WhistleOut.com, SatelliteInternet.com, CableTV.com, and Reviews.com. Utilizing his experience in multimedia content creation for businesses, non-profits, and educational institutions, Alex writes for businesses today.
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