Special Report

Best (and Worst) Paying Cities for Women

The Best Cities for Women

Memphis, Tennessee
Source: Thinkstock

10. Memphis, TN-MS-AR
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 85.8%
> Median earnings for men: $42,314
> Median earnings for women: $36,317

In many parts of the country, it appears that the gender pay gap is smaller not because salaries for women are elevated to match their male counterparts, but because incomes are lower for both genders. In Memphis, women earn 86 cents for every dollar a man earns, which is the 10th smallest gap among large U.S. metro areas. The median earnings for women in the city of $36,317 a year is $2,700 below the U.S. median female earnings. Meanwhile, the median earnings for males in Memphis of $42,314 a year is $6,800 below the national male median earnings. Still, male earnings are about $6,000 more than female earnings in the city.

Greensboro, North Carolina Skyline
Source: Thinkstock

9. Greensboro-High Point, NC
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 85.9%
> Median earnings for men: $40,928
> Median earnings for women: $35,157

The gender pay gap in Greensboro, North Carolina is one of the lowest in the country, but the conditions for working women are still far from ideal. The glass ceiling — so called because it represents an unspoken, unofficial limit of advancement for women in certain roles — appears to be present also in Greensboro. In line with the national share, only 40% of management positions are filled by women, and the typical woman in management positions earn about $52,000 a year — roughly $24,000 less than the median male earnings in management positions.

Statue of Liberty, New York
Source: Thinkstock

8. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 85.9%
> Median earnings for men: $57,280
> Median earnings for women: $49,230

The approximate 14 percentage point pay gap between men and women in the New York City metropolitan area is the eighth smallest gap of any major U.S. metropolitan area. In many metro areas with relatively small gender pay gaps, incomes tend to be lower overall. New York City is one exception to this rule. Men and women earn more than the typical American and more than the typical worker of their respective genders. Female workers in New York City earn a median of $49,230 a year, $10,000 higher than the typical female worker nationwide but roughly $8,000 less than the typical male New York worker. In October 2015, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed several bills intended to strengthen workplace equality, collectively referred to as the Women’s Equality Agenda.

Wooster Square in New Haven, Connecticut
Source: Thinkstock

7. New Haven-Milford, CT
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 86.3%
> Median earnings for men: $57,173
> Median earnings for women: $49,348

Nationwide, women are slightly less likely to be employed than men, making up 47.5% of total U.S. employment. In New Haven, women have almost equal representation in the workforce, at 49.4% of total employment. Like nearby New York City, the earnings gap between men and women, while still a substantial 13.7 cents on the dollar, is less than the majority of major metro areas.

This smaller gap is not necessarily the result of more women working in higher-paying positions but rather to less women working in lower-paying ones. For example, while women make up 54.3% of all food preparation and service occupations nationwide, they account for 48.9% in New Haven.

Denver, Colorado 3
Source: Thinkstock

6. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 87.4%
> Median earnings for men: $52,089
> Median earnings for women: $45,543

Although the typical woman in Denver-Aurora-Lakewood earns just 87.4% of what the typical man earns, this is still one of the smaller pay gaps nationwide. Unlike many cities with relatively small gender pay gaps, the lower income inequality is not the result of low pay overall. The typical male in the city earns $52,089 a year, and the typical female $45,543 a year — each far higher than the median earnings for each gender nationwide.

Compared to their representation nationwide, women comprise a larger share of the workforce in nearly every lucrative field in Denver, which is likely one reason for the higher income. For example, 20.8% of all architects and engineers in the metro area are women compared to 15.4% nationwide. Similarly, 55.4% of all life, physical, and social scientists in Denver are women, more than the 46.3% national share.