Special Report

Best (and Worst) Paying Cities for Women

Salt Lake City, Utah
Source: Thinkstock

5. Salt Lake City, UT
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 70.5%
> Median earnings for men: $50,217
> Median earnings for women: $35,414

Salt Lake City is one one of three Utah metro areas among the 10 worst cities for women. According to a 2015 study by advocacy group Voices for Utah Children, the state’s pay gap is due to a mix of discrimination and differences in qualification between the two sexes. While 34.0% of adult men in Salt Lake City have at least a bachelor’s degree, just 28.7% of women have similar educational attainment. The only major metro areas with larger gaps in educational attainment are Ogden-Clearfield and Provo-Orem — both also in Utah. The typical woman in Salt Lake City earns $35,414 annually, far less than the $50,217 median annual earnings for males in the metro area. The 70.5% pay gap is one of the widest in the country.

Boise City, Idaho
Source: Thinkstock

4. Boise City, ID
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 69.7%
> Median earnings for men: $46,046
> Median earnings for women: $32,110

Women tend to be paid less in industries where they are less represented. However, they are also underpaid in industries where they make up the vast majority of jobs. In Boise, which has one of the largest gender pay gaps in the country, women account for at least 65% of education and health diagnosing and practitioner roles but are paid just 65% of their male counterparts. The median earnings for female technologists is just $35,933 a year compared to $61,083 for males.

Ogden, Utah
Source: Wikimedia Commons

3. Ogden-Clearfield, UT
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 67.5%
> Median earnings for men: $53,158
> Median earnings for women: $35,879

With median earnings of $46,940 a year, Ogden-Clearfield residents earn more than Americans nationwide. The distribution of these high incomes, however, is close to the worst in the country.

Very few women nationwide work in construction and extraction occupations, occupying just 2.8% of such jobs. Women in Ogden, however, make up 4.6% of such workers. Despite the higher representation, female industry workers in the metro area earn just $18,649 annually, considerably lower than the median earnings for women working in these jobs nationwide and less than 40% of what men in similar jobs earn in the area. By contrast, the pay gap for the industry nationally is more than 80%.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 2
Source: Thinkstock

2. Baton Rouge, LA
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 64.9%
> Median earnings for men: $53,155
> Median earnings for women: $34,522

Baton Rouge trails only Provo-Orem as the worst paying city for women. The two cities share the distinction as the only metros in the nation where women are paid less than two dollars for every three dollars a man is paid. Like the nation as a whole, pay is the least equitable in Baton Rouge’s legal occupations. Women, who account for 43.5% of people employed in the industry, earn $52,459 annually, far less than the median earnings for men working in the sector. Female wages are lower than male earnings in nearly every area industry despite the fact that area adult women tend to be better educated than the men.

Provo, Utah
Source: Thinkstock

1. Provo-Orem, UT
> Women’s pay as a pct. of men’s: 64.3%
> Median earnings for men: $52,068
> Median earnings for women: $33,504

No city has a wider gender pay gap than Provo-Orem, where median earnings for women are equal to just 64.3% of male earnings. As is generally the case, the pay gap is even wider in some industries. Women working in health care support occupations in the area earn less than half of what men working in the industry typically earn — the widest gap of all area industries. While the gender pay gap tends to persist even when adjusting for educational attainment, the large income gap in the Provo area is likely due in part to disparate college attainment rate between men and women. Unlike most metro areas, men are more likely than women to have pursued higher education, with 41.0% of men and 33.2% of women having attained at least a bachelor’s degree.