Special Report

Worst States for Women

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1. Connecticut
> Female earnings as pct. of male earnings: 97.0% (the highest)
> Female life expectancy at birth: 82.9 years (3rd highest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 34.2% (16th highest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 40.4% (14th lowest)

Connecticut ranks as the best state for women, as female residents are relatively healthy and on nearly equal financial footing as male residents. Female workers have a median annual earnings of $60,632, the highest of all states. That median is 97% of what male workers earn, the smallest gender wage gap of any state. Nationwide, female workers earn 82.3% of what male workers do.

Women in Connecticut report relatively positive health outcomes, with a life expectancy at birth of almost 83 years, the third highest among all states. The state also has one of the lowest rates of infant deaths, at 4.4 per 1,000 births, and one of the highest rates of female health insurance coverage, at 95.2%. Both rank among the top 10 among all states.

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2. New York
> Female earnings as pct. of male earnings: 84.5% (11th highest)
> Female life expectancy at birth: 82.8 years (4th highest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 28.6% (19th lowest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 43.5% (7th highest)

New York’s health care system and laws help make it one of the best states for women. The state has laws that mandate paid sick leave, paid family leave, and expanded eligibility for coverage of family planning services under Medicaid. New York is one of just six states with all three guaranteed.

Women in New York are much more likely to hold a bachelor’s degree than the typical American woman. An estimated 39.0% of adult women in New York hold at least a bachelor’s degree compared to just 33.9% of all women in America aged 25 and older.

3. New Jersey
> Female earnings as pct. of male earnings: 82.2% (21st highest)
> Female life expectancy at birth: 82.3 years (7th highest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 30.0% (24th lowest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 39.7% (9th lowest)

Female workers in New Jersey earn 82.2% of what male workers do, roughly in line with the nationwide gender wage gap. However, the median annual wage for female workers is $7,800 higher in the state than it is across the U.S., at $54,132.

Much of what makes New Jersey one of the best states for women comes in the form of legislation and investment in women and families. The state spends over $14,000 per child enrolled in preschool – by far the highest total of any state. More than a quarter of New Jersey 3- and 4-year-olds are in Pre-K, compared to 20% of American children. New Jersey is also one of six states with mandatory sick leave, parental leave, and expanded eligibility for coverage of family planning services under Medicaid.

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4. Massachusetts
> Female earnings as pct. of male earnings: 82.2% (20th highest)
> Female life expectancy at birth: 82.5 years (6th highest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 31.0% (23rd highest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 43.7% (6th highest)

Women in Massachusetts report among the best health outcomes in the country. The above average health outcomes help make the New England state one of the best states for women in the country. Almost 98% of female Massachusetts residents have health insurance, the highest share of any state. Massachusetts has the sixth-highest female life expectancy at 82.5 years. It also has the second-lowest infant mortality rate in the country, at 3.7 deaths per 1,000 live births.

In Massachusetts, 45% of women 25 and older hold at least a bachelor’s degree, by far the highest share of any state. A college degree can help open the door to a wide variety of high-paying jobs, and female workers in Massachusetts have the second-highest income among all states, at nearly $58,000 per year. The state also has one of the highest shares of management jobs held by women, at 43.7%.

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5. Maryland
> Female earnings as pct. of male earnings: 86.1% (7th highest)
> Female life expectancy at birth: 81.1 years (25th lowest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 40.4% (10th highest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 47.1% (2nd highest)

Maryland ranks as the fifth-best state for women and the best state outside of the Northeast region. The median annual earnings for women in Maryland is $55,848, the third-highest median for female workers of all states. That represents 86.1% of male earnings, the seventh-smallest gender wage gap among states.

Maryland is one of just 10 states in which more than 40% of legislative seats are held by women in the state legislature. Women also have 47.1% of all management jobs in the state, the second highest share among all states.

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