The Best & Worst Cities for Women’s Wage Equality

Here's where to live if you want equal pay for equal work.

Women continue to earn less than men across the board in the United States. In fact, except for women working in a few specific fields within specific communities, women still earn less than 80 cents for every dollar men make (and the wage gap only widens as women age). At the rate we’re going, women aren’t expected to achieve wage equality with men in this country until 2152 — another 135 years.

But some women’s earnings in some roles are equal or even surpassing those of their male coworkers (more on that in a minute), according to a recent analysis of U.S. Census data by Abodo, an apartment-locator website. Unfortunately, that’s not the case across the board. How much a woman makes compared to men doing the same job depends a lot on where she lives.

“For young millennials looking to launch their careers, or even for college students still planning their next move, being aware of the different factors influencing your future earnings is key, because even small discrepancies can have a huge impact on lifetime earnings,” said Sam Radbil, senior communications manager for Abodo. “For a woman pursuing a career in computers and math, for example, and assuming stable earnings, choosing to live in Milwaukee can mean earning $176,000 less than your male counterparts, while choosing Phoenix would mean $560,040 less over a 40-year career.”

Let’s start out looking at Abodo’s findings on the overall wage gap and the cities where it’s best and worst across industries. (You can check out the full report here.)

Nationally, the median income for women is $39,315, which is 78.9% of the national median income of $49,828 for men. Abodo looked at the Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey five-year estimates for the median salaries of male and female full-time, year-round workers who were at least 16 years old and had earnings to find the greatest departure from that median. Abodo identified the 10 metropolitan areas with the largest and smallest wage gaps, as well as the five occupations with the largest and smallest wage gaps nationally.

First, the Cities With the Least Wage Disparity

1. Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Topping the chart for women wage earners across all occupational categories was Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where women earn an average of 92.6% of what their male counterparts do. It’s the only metro area where women’s overall median salaries across industries exceed 90% of men’s salaries, the study found.

2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California
Women earn 89.5% what men earn.

3. Fresno, California
Women earn 88.8% of what men earn.

4. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Osmond Beach, Florida
Women earn 87.1% of what men earn.

5. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Nevada
Women earn 86.9% of what men earn.

6. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach
Women earn 86.7% of what men earn.

7. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada
Women earn 86.0% of what men earn.

8. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
Women earn 86.0% of what men earn.

9. New York-Newark-Jersey City, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Women earn 85.5% of what men earn.

10. Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, California
Women earn 85.3% of what men earn.

On the flip side, the cities where women earn the smallest percentage median wage compared to men are led by Utah, where three of the top 10 cities are located. In fact, only one city located outside of Utah has a median wage for women that is less than 70% of what men earn.

The Cities With the Greatest Wage Disparity

1. Provo, Utah
Women earn 63.1% of what men earn.

2. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Women earn 68.1% of what men earn.

3. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah
Women earn 68.9% of what men earn.

4. Wichita, Kansas
Women earn 72.1% of what men earn.

5. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pennsylvania
Women earn 73.1% of what men earn.

6. Salt Lake City
Women earn 73.4% of what men earn.

7. Augusta-Richmond County, Georgia
Women earn 73.4% of what men earn.

8. Colorado Springs, Colorado
Women earn 73.6% of what men earn.

9. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan
Women earn 73.6% of what men earn.

10. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut
Women earn 74.4% of what men earn.

Wage Disparity by Field

Abodo found only two major fields where women earned more — community and social services (see the green chart below), and construction and extraction jobs (see the blue chart below. Even then, women earned more only in certain cities.

wage disparity

Click image to view larger.

As Radbil explains: “Construction and extraction is one of the rare fields in our study in which women occasionally out-earned their male counterparts — at least in a specific set of cities and positions,” Radbil said. “As laborers, managers and first-line supervisors, women’s wages still lag. But in certain roles, such as helpers for construction and extraction, or service unit operators, women are seemingly leaps and bounds ahead. However, this field has the lowest percentage of female workers — just 2.4%. With numbers so low, it’s much easier for a few high-earning outliers to bolster the numbers when it comes down to specific jobs and cities.

wage disparity

Click image to view larger.

“And the reverse is also true: Construction and extraction jobs have a wide spectrum for earnings, and also contains some of the lowest lows for female workers. For example, the city with the best construction earnings ratio is Memphis, Tennessee, with $1.21 on a man’s dollar, while the worst is Milwaukee, with just 63 cents, which is the second-lowest earning ratio for any occupation our study found. All in all, however, female construction and extraction workers still earn 88 cents to a man’s dollar, for the third-highest earning ratio.”

The Largest Wage Gap Goes To…

One employment category was found to have an especially large wage gap: the legal field, where women make only 51.8% as much as men. Part of the discrepancy stems from the widely variable salaries in the legal field. Judges earn much more than paralegals, for example. But it doesn’t explain why more men work in the higher earning jobs. It also can’t explain why female lawyers earn just 78.2% on the dollar.

If you aren’t being paid the same as your peers, regardless of their gender, or just aren’t being paid what you’re worth, you might want to consider asking for a raise. It can be tough, but these tips on how to ask for a raise can make it easier.

If that’s not an option for you but you need to find some way to improve your financial circumstances — whether it’s to qualify for a mortgage, get a better rate on your credit card or just make saving for the future easier — here are 50 ways to give your finances a fresh start.

Keep in mind, one of the most prudent financial moves you can make is to keep your credit in good standing. If you don’t know where your credit stands, or if you know you could improve your credit scores, checking your credit regularly is a good idea. You can get your two absolutely free credit scores right here on

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A Few Extra Pounds Can Hurt Your Job Chances, Study Says, Especially for Women


Getting soft around the middle may not just trigger a bout of self-consciousnesses — it could throw a wrench into your chances of landing a job. At least that’s according to a study recently published in the journal Plos One, which found weight gain can hamper a job applicant’s prospects, particularly if that applicant is female.

The team of Scottish and U.K. researchers, Dennis Nickson, Andrew R. Timming, Daniel Re and David I. Perrett, decided to explore whether a slight change in weight could turn employers off. What they found wasn’t pretty: “Employing a unique simulation of altering individuals’ BMIs (body mass index) and the literature on ‘aesthetic labour,’ the study suggests that, especially for women, being heavier, but still within a healthy BMI, deleteriously impacts on hireability ratings,” they concluded. Here’s how.


In 2013, a group of 60 men and 60 women were asked to imagine themselves as company recruiters reviewing snapshots of applicants. Each photo showed four men and four women, all white and lacking expression, and at various, digitally enhanced weights. Though the various weights fell within healthy BMI ranges, the changes were apparent to the untrained eye. Still, participants were assured that the candidates all had ideal resumes.


Image courtesy PLOS One

When asked to hire each, on a scale of 1 (extremely unlikely) to 7 (extremely likely), for customer-facing roles or more independent jobs, the “recruiters’ ” responses were striking. (Keep in mind, they were asked to go on their gut, unlike what most human managers would be advised, given legal precautions.)

Thinner faces were deemed more employable than fuller ones, especially for the customer-facing roles. What’s more, the ‘original’ versions received an average score of 4.84, while the corresponding heavier ones averaged 4.61.

Larger women received even more of a knock, being rated 0.66 lower on average, compared to 0.26 lower for men. “For women, it seems, even seemingly minute changes to the shape, size and weight of the body are important,” the researchers said.

The Takeaway

So what’s a woman to do? Countering societal expectations is hard enough, and women currently earn less than men, dollar for dollar. The gender pay gap for women of color and mothers is even worse, according to The American Association of University Women, a think tank focused on promoting equality and education for all women and girls.

Fortunately, you can research employers ahead of time to find ones that will judge you based on work and not on appearance. And you should always do your best to prove yourself on the merits of your work. Because some employers check a version of your credit reports during the application process, particularly for roles that require government security clearance, it wouldn’t hurt to get your finances in order. You can take steps to clean up your credit by pulling your credit reports for free each year at and viewing your free credit report summary, updated every 14 days, for free on

Image: Jacob Ammentorp Lund

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These Are the Only People Who Can Afford the American Dream


If you’ve paid any iota of attention to the ebbs and flows of the American economy, you know that the “American Dream” — the idea that given enough hard work and dedication, you can become a self-sustaining individual with a house and family — is out of reach for most. That description of the American Dream varies from person to person, but the general idea is that you can get the basics of a happy life if you try hard enough. But as we’ve seen over the past couple of decades, it’s an ideal that simply isn’t in the cards for much of middle-class America.

As for why it’s out of reach? There are many reasons. Incomes have stagnated, as wage growth has been choked. Jobs have been sent to foreign countries to capitalize on cheaper labor, and automation and technological gains have also led to job losses. Globalization is the biggest part of it, but there have also been regulatory and commercial changes that have significantly impacted the American economy.

Essentially, the prices of almost everything (front rent and mortgages to food) have gone up with time, and wages haven’t kept up. Purchasing power has eroded. And now, the price tag of the American Dream is higher than many people can afford. Thanks to a new study from The Red Pin, a Canadian real estate listing site, we now have an idea of the exact dollar amount required to achieve it, and who, exactly, earns enough to make it.

The American Dream, in Dollars & Cents


Infographic via The Red Pin

As you can see from the above graphic, the total cost of the American Dream — per The Red Pin’s calculations — comes in at more than $3,500 per month. That’s a considerable amount, which means that a household would need to earn more than $42,500 annually (pre-tax) to get into the conversation. And, naturally, there is an incredible amount of variability in the associated costs from household to household, and location to location.

If you dig further into the study, The Red Pin does list out several cities in which the American Dream is much easier to attain. For example, if you’re striving to have it all in New York City or San Francisco, you’re going to have an incredibly tough time. But if you set your sights on other cities in the Midwest, for example, you’re suddenly in the ballpark.

But back to that $3,500 number — with two earners in a household, it’s achievable. Again, however, you have to account for who, where, and what they’re trying to earn. The average household earns around $54,000 per year, per government data, to put things into perspective.

Who Can Afford It?


Infographic via The Red Pin

The chart above paints somewhat of an ugly picture, with only a handful of people (again, on average) able to afford the components to piece together the American Dream. If you’re a middle-aged man — specifically, white or Asian — you’re in the clear. Everybody else? The cards are stacked against you.

Clearly, there’s a lot of information packed into this relatively simple bar graph. It doesn’t take into account, however, the many factors that play into income inequality, access to education, environmental hurdles, etc. That would require a graph and report hundreds of pages long, so keep in mind that this chart is just taking the averages. There are plenty of people who are doing quite well and beating the averages. There are lots who are falling behind, however, as well.

There’s one thing that’s obvious from The Red Pin’s work, though: Things really only look bright for men between the ages of 35 and 64. Younger, or older than that? Not so much. Not white, or Asian? Tough luck. And that goes for women of all ages and races as well.

This article originally appeared on The Cheat Sheet.  

Image: Andrew Rich

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The Wage Gap Really Widens When Women Hit This Age


It’s no secret that women often make less money than men, but a new study discovered there’s a certain age when that problem escalates.

According to a gender equity report from Visier, a workforce analytics firm, the gender wage gap in America widens around age 32. The study found this is the time when women are earning 90% of men’s wages. That number decreases to 82% in just eight short years — by age 40.

“Every CEO should be looking at gender equity,” John Schwarz, Visier founder and CEO, said in a press release. “Countless studies have shown the equal economic contribution women make in the workforce, yet companies have struggled to achieve the goal of equity in compensation.”

According to Visier’s study, which used information from its database of 165,000 U.S. employees from 31 companies, the age of 32 is a time when men typically start being promoted to managerial positions and earning an average wage two times the wage of non-managers. This is also when many women leave the workforce, take time off for maternity leave or even face discrimination in promotion decisions.

The study points out that paying women and men equally for the same position is integral to closing the gender wage gap. But so is fixing what the study calls “the manager divide” by having a stronger representation of women in managerial roles, which could reduce the wage gap to 10% across all age groups, the report said.

How Income Affects Your Credit

No matter how much you earn or your role, your paycheck won’t directly affect your credit scores. But having more money coming in can make it easier to pay credit card debt or other bills you may have. This can help you maintain a strong payment history, which is a major factor in establishing your credit scores. (To find out how your spending and payment habits are affecting your credit, you can see two of your free credit scores, updated each month, on

If you aren’t happy with what you see, there are ways you can work on improving your credit score. This can include paying down debt and disputing any errors you find on your credit reports.

[Offer: If you need help fixing errors on your credit report, Lexington Law could help you meet your goals. Learn more about them here or call them at (844) 346-3296 for a free consultation.]


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