Special Report

The Best (and Worst) Paying Cities for Women

4. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX Metro Area
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s:
87.5%
> Median earnings for men: $32,187
> Median earnings for women: $28,152

The median earnings of McAllen metro area residents were $31,065 in 2013, the lowest among the 100 largest metro areas. Both sexes also had some of the lowest educational attainment rates, at 15.3% for men, and 17.0% for women, both roughly half the percentage of Americans with at least a bachelor’s degree. As Hegewisch explained in an interview with 24/7 Wall St., there may be less opportunity and less room for discrimination in areas with such low incomes. The gender pay gap was small overall in McAllen, and women were paid especially well compared to men in several jobs, such as community and social service occupations. However, women were paid much less fairly in other higher paying jobs. Median earnings for women working in business and financial jobs, for instance, were $36,419 — 70.5% of male median earnings, one of the worst such gaps.

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3. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA Metro Area
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s:
88.4%
> Median earnings for men: $51,634
> Median earnings for women: $45,634

The Sacramento metro area is one of four California metro areas on the list of 10 areas with the smallest gender pay gaps. Women fared especially well in architecture and engineering occupations and in science professions — both male-dominated fields — with median earnings equal to or greater than the earnings of male workers. The median earnings of female personal care providers were $23,657, higher than the comparable national income and greater than the median earnings of men. Men earned less than the respective national income for the occupation.

2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metro Area
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s:
88.7%
> Median earnings for men: $45,916
> Median earnings for women: $40,749

Professional female scientists working in the Los Angeles metro area made up a majority of the science-related workforce and had higher median earnings than their male counterparts. Similarly, in office and administrative support occupations, women made up more than two-thirds of workers, although this was less than the national average composition. The median earnings of female office and administrative support workers were $37,256, higher than both the median male earnings and the comparable female median earnings nationwide. LA women also fared well in transportation jobs, a male-dominated occupation. While women in the area comprised just 11.2% of the transportation workforce, their median earnings were nearly $36,000 in 2013, considerably higher than the national figure and 105.4% of the men’s median earnings, the eighth highest percentage compared to other large metro areas.

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1. Fresno, CA Metro Area
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s:
89.6%
> Median earnings for men: $39,697
> Median earnings for women: $35,557

Women working in Fresno made nearly ninety cents for every dollar a man made, the smallest gender pay gap among the 100 largest U.S. metro areas. Overall, earnings were not especially high, with a typical resident earning $37,424 in 2013, versus the national median of $42,498. And while women tended to have higher college attainment rates than men in the area, all residents were far less likely than most Americans to have completed at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013. While women made up a minority of workers in computer and mathematical occupations, as well as in the architecture and engineering professions, their median earnings were higher than their male counterparts. However, in both fields, women in Fresno did not earn more than men in similar jobs nationwide. The gender pay gap would have been even smaller if median earnings for women in legal occupations were higher. Women in such jobs earned less than 40% of what men did, an exceptionally wide gap compared to other areas with the lowest pay gaps.

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