Special Report

Best and Worst Cities for Women

Best Cities for Women

Source: Thinkstock

10. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
> Female earnings as pct. of male: 77.8%
> Female bachelor’s degree attainment: 45.7%
> 3 and 4 yr. olds enrolled in pre-K: 66.0%

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk is one of four metro areas on this list located in the Northeast. In addition to being instrumental in childhood development, pre-K programs give parents — usually the mother — the opportunity to leave their children somewhere safe during the day so they can hold a job. Connecticut spends more per pupil on pre-K programs than nearly any other state, and partially as a result, 66% of 3 and 4-year olds in the Bridgeport metro area are enrolled in preschool, a larger share than in all but six other U.S. metro areas.

Women in Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk also appear to be relatively healthy. Life expectancy among area women is 83.7 years, well above the 79.5 year average life expectancy of males in the area and the 80.8 year life expectancy among women nationwide.

Source: Thinkstock

9. Burlington-South Burlington, VT
> Female earnings as pct. of male: 80.7%
> Female bachelor’s degree attainment: 44.8%
> 3 and 4-year olds enrolled in pre-K: 56.8%

In the Burlington metro area, women earn about 81 cents for every dollar men earn — roughly in line with the 80 cent on the dollar gender wage gap nationwide. Despite the difference in earnings, women in Burlington are more likely to have a four-year college education than area males. Some 44.8% of women in the area have at least a bachelor’s degree compared to 41.9% of area men and 30.9% of women nationwide.

Nationwide, 39.9% of management positions are occupied by women. In Burlington, women occupy 43.4% of all management roles. Despite greater representation, the typical female manager in Burlington still makes just 77 cents for every dollar earned by male managers.

Source: Thinkstock

8. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
> Female earnings as pct. of male: 79.1%
> Female bachelor’s degree attainment: 45.8%
> 3 and 4-year olds enrolled in pre-K: 61.0%

The city of Boston is home to 35 colleges and universities. The large number of higher education institutions has likely resulted in high educational attainment for both sexes. In Boston, 46.2% of men and 45.8% of women have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to just over 30% nationwide for each men and women. Highly educated workers tend to have higher-paying jobs with better benefits, and women in Boston are among the best compensated workers in the country. The typical Boston female worker earns $52,381 annually, the fifth most among U.S. metropolitan areas.

Source: Thinkstock

7. Ann Arbor, MI
> Female earnings as pct. of male: 79.9%
> Female bachelor’s degree attainment: 55.6%
> 3 and 4-year olds enrolled in pre-K: 61.0%

Ann Arbor is one of only four U.S. metro areas where over half of the female population has at least a bachelor’s degree. Some 55.6% of area women have earned a four-year college degree, compared to 54.7% of area men. Despite having one of the highest female college attainment rates in the country, area women earn about 80 cents for every dollar men earn, roughly in line with the national wage gap.

Subsidized pre-K programs for 3 and 4-year olds are important for gender equality as they allow for both parents to participate in the workforce. In Ann Arbor, 61.0% of children of eligible age are enrolled in preschool, well above the 47.6% enrollment rate nationwide.

Source: Thinkstock

6. Ames, IA
> Female earnings as pct. of male: 81.1%
> Female bachelor’s degree attainment: 49.5%
> 3 and 4-year olds enrolled in pre-K: 56.2%

Ames, Iowa ranks as one of the best U.S. metro areas for women due in large part to a higher than typical female life expectancy and a relatively large share of women with a bachelor’s degree. Life expectancy among area women is 82.7 years, and some 49.5% of women in Ames have at least a four-year college degree. Nationwide, female life expectancy is 80.8 years and only 30.9% of women have a bachelor’s degree.

While a college education is a reliable way to increase earning potential, the gender pay gap is still pronounced in Ames. Metro area women earn only about 81 cents for every dollar area men earn — roughly in line with the gender pay disparity nationwide.