16 U.S. Cities Where Women Actually Earn More Than Men

These American cities defy the gender wage gap, but is it enough?

16 U.S. Cities Where Women Actually Earn More Than Men
[Image: Beautiful Austin skyline, Koshal Bose via Shutterstock]

You’ve probably heard the figure before: the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. This, despite the fact that since 1967, the number of women working in the United States has been steadily rising--from 29% to 46.9% in 2012.


Women continue to make strides in workforce participation, yet not all female laborers are treated the same across the country. It turns out, where women live impacts how much they make and how equal their earnings will be to their male counterparts.

The financial literacy website Nerd Wallet recently analyzed data from the U.S. Census, comparing the median salaries, cost of living, income equality between the sexes, and population growth of 522 cities: 61 large cities with populations over 300,000, 241 medium-sized cities with population from 100,000 to 300,000 and 220 small cities with populations under 100,000. The result is a comprehensive list of the top cities for women to work in America.

Among the best large cities for women to work are Aurora, Colorado, where a low cost of living, a high income equality (women here earned 95.44% of men) and associations such as the Aurora Business Women that promotes the role of women in the workforce through advocacy and education allow women to achieve greater success.

Austin, Texas, came in a near second with a high population growth rate, low cost of living and small gender pay gap (women earn 93.34% of men). Austin, Texas is also home to The Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Texas which encourages the economic empowerment of women in the state.

The nation’s capital also appeared among the top five best large cities for women to work. Although Washington, D.C., has a high cost of living, women here boasted the highest full-time income of all the top 10 cities ($60,116), earning 90.06% of men, far above the national average. Not surprising since the city attracts highly educated professionals in fields of law and politics.

Bigger Isn’t Better

Women fared even better in medium and small-sized cities, where in 16 cities, the gender gap was reversed–meaning women actually earned more than men. The city where women earned the highest percentage over men (127%) is Jacksonville, North Carolina. There, women’s average yearly income is $33,517 while men can expect to earn $26,366.


Richmond, California, ranked among the top five medium-sized cities, with full-time, year-round female employees earning 109.89% of male counterparts. Women here can expect to earn $45,863. Chevron is the main employer in this city, while others find employment in local government.

Syracuse, New York, also made the top five, where women are most likely to find jobs in education, service industries, and health care. Low median rent makes the city highly affordable, while women can expect to earn just slightly more than men (100.57%) with an average income of $36,046. With all factors taken into consideration, the best small city for women is Pharr, Texas, where female employees earn a median income of $29,189, or 112% of male counterparts.

Here is a full list of cities where women earn more than men. While none are major cities, many are affluent suburbs of hubs like San Francisco, New York City, and Los Angeles:

About the author

Lisa Evans is a freelance writer from Toronto who covers topics related to mental and physical health. She strives to help readers make small changes to their daily habits that have a profound and lasting impact on their productivity and overall job satisfaction.