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The Best & Worst Cities For Equal Pay In America

Woman separated from group of colleagues

GoodHire analyzed data from the 100 largest US cities, by population size, to reveal the best cities for equal pay; where the smallest and largest American gender pay gaps exist; cities that offer the highest earning potential for women; and much more.


In the spring of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered job loss in the labor market on a scale not seen since the Great Depression. Since then, the employment situation has improved and a new report estimates the labor market will fully recover all jobs lost during the pandemic by August 2022. 

While the US approaches a major jobs milestone, it’s important to remember that much has changed since March 2020 when COVID-19 upended our lives, the workplace, and the workforce as we knew it. 

One group that was disproportionately impacted by the pandemic is women. Nearly 2.3 million women left their jobs between February 2020 and February 2021, according to Fortune. Furthermore, women with children were three times more likely to lose their jobs early on in the pandemic than fathers, according to one analysis

But as COVID-19 fears lessen for many Americans, and schools and childcare facilities return to full capacity and normal hours, women who have long-served critical roles in the workforce are returning to the job market. This is great news for organizations that are struggling to hire in an extremely tight and competitive labor market. 

How can employers adapt their recruiting and hiring efforts to meet the new expectations of today’s candidates and attract top talent—both women and men—who are looking for better work-life balance, fair and flexible work arrangements, higher wages, improved benefits, and other important aspects of employment?

One way to set your organization apart from the competition is to prioritize pay equity as a business goal–and many businesses are taking note. A recent Payscale survey showed 66% of organizations are planning a pay equity analysis in 2022, the first year this type of initiative has been planned by over half of surveyed organizations. Businesses that offer equal pay are more effective in creating a competitive workforce which leads to many organizational benefits: demonstrating key values to employees, attracting top talent, increasing motivation, improving retention, and aligning corporate social responsibilities. 

To find out where US organizations are having the most success in closing the gender pay gap, GoodHire ranked America’s most opportunistic cities for women workers by analyzing US Census Bureau data for the largest 100 cities based on population size. 

Graphic showing top and bottom US cities for gender wage gap

After ranking cities by the ratio of the female median income to male median income, we also analyzed the median earnings of all full-time workers, both male and female median annual income, the total number of males and females making $100,000 or more, and the total number of extra days women would have to work in each city to achieve equal pay. 

Let’s take a look at the data.

Are Some Cities Finally Closing In On Equal Pay?

Here’s a look at the US cities with the largest and smallest gender pay gaps. 

Graphic showing top and bottom US cities for gender wage gap

Above you’ll see that Los Angeles, CA is the big winner, showcasing the smallest gender pay gap in America with women earning 91% of what men earn. In the City of Angels, women would have to work 25 days more than men to earn equal pay. 

Rounding out the top-five and joining Los Angeles with some of the smallest gender pay gaps are Durham, NC, Fresno, CA, Fort Myers, FL, and Miami, FL. 

Others in the top-ten for smallest gender pay gaps are Las Vegas, NV, Winston-Salem, NC, Springfield, MA, San Diego, CA, and Albuquerque, NM. 

While equal pay still doesn’t exist across the country — the national average shows that women earn only 81% of what men earn — 40 additional cities join the top-10 list in exceeding the national average for the women-to-men equal pay ratio.

On the other end of the spectrum, we find that some cities have a much longer way to go when it comes to equal pay. 

Struggling at the bottom are lowest-ranked Provo, UT, Baton Rouge, LA, Ogden, UT, San Jose, CA, and Detroit, MI. Joining them in places six through ten are Augusta, GA, Tulsa, OK, Salt Lake City, UT, Pittsburgh, PA, and Oklahoma City, OK. 

The gender pay gap is a real and concerning issue, but as many women search for work in the post-pandemic world, there are clearly some cities that provide higher earning potential and are getting closer to achieving equal pay. 

To view more detailed data about the gender pay gaps by city, please view the full data set at the end of this report.

Where Women Can Earn Highest Salaries In The US

Graphic showing US cities where women earn the highest median annual income

The data shows that gender pay gaps clearly exist across the country, but this doesn’t mean women can’t carve out promising careers and high earnings in the US. Additionally, many cities have shown great improvement from 1960 when women earned just 60 cents for every dollar earned by men

Regardless of what men earn, it’s still important to be aware of the best cities for women seeking to earn high wages. To find out, we analyzed median salaries across the country. 

To start, two California cities—San Jose and San Francisco—boast the highest median salaries for women at just over $70,000 annually. Rounding out the top-five are Washington, DC, Stamford, CT, and Boston, MA. 

Women looking for median salaries of more than $53,000, should look no further than the rest of the top-ten list: Seattle, WA, New York, NY, Hartford, CT, Baltimore, MD, and Poughkeepsie, NY. 

For a complete list of median income by city, see the full data set at the end of this report. 

Moving on, let’s take a look at some of the cities where women are earning more than the national median salary and into the six-figure range. 

Where Women Are Most Likely To Earn Six-Figures

Graphic showing top US cities where women earn at least $100,000

Looking at the map above, you’ll see that for women in the US, geography plays a big factor in securing a six-figure (or greater) salary. Let’s look at which cities offer the highest earning potential for women. 

Again, our data reveals that San Jose, CA and San Francisco, CA are the top cities for women who are looking to make $100,000 or more. In San Jose, 34% of all women earn $100,000 or more, while 31% do the same in San Francisco. 

In Washington, DC, 27% of all women make six-figures, while Stamford, CT (25%), Boston, MA (21%), New York, NY (21%), Seattle, WA (20%), Baltimore, MD (17%), Thousand Oaks, CA (17%), and Hartford, CT (16%) round out the cities with the most women earning $100,000 or more. 

Overall, a gender pay gap clearly still exists in America. Women, at a national level, earn just 81% of what men earn, and their median salary is more than $10,000 less than their male counterparts. 

Also, just 11% of women make six-figures on a national level, while 21% of men are earning that same amount. And across the country, women need to work 62 extra days to earn simply the same amount as men. 

The gender pay gap is decreasing, but clearly, there is still progress to be made. And while stubborn inequality in the average wages between men and women persists throughout America, many forward-thinking organizations in select cities are taking steps to shrink the gender pay gap. 

Is your organization located in one of the leading cities? 

Take a look at our full data set below and consider which steps you can take as an employer to prioritize closing the gender pay gap and make equal pay for women the biggest benefit to come out of the Great Resignation.  

The Full List Of Cities With The Smallest & Largest Gender Wage Gaps 

RankCityFemale Income as % of Male IncomeMale Median IncomeFemale Median IncomeFemale Extra Work Days For Equal Pay
National Average81%$54,323$44,22062
1Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metro Area91%$52,722$48,11725
2Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Metro Area90%$53,760$48,58028
3Fresno, CA Metro Area89%$46,493$41,46232
4Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL Metro Area89%$43,928$39,11132
5Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL Metro Area88%$44,870$39,44336
6Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV Metro Area88%$46,616$40,89736
7Winston-Salem, NC Metro Area86%$45,799$39,54941
8Springfield, MA Metro Area86%$57,823$49,91441
9San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA Metro Area86%$58,779$50,72141
10Albuquerque, NM Metro Area86%$47,705$40,97543
11Madison, WI Metro Area86%$58,442$50,03944
12Stockton, CA Metro Area86%$52,242$44,71944
13Tucson, AZ Metro Area86%$47,180$40,37944
14Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL Metro Area85%$45,581$38,92344
15Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metro Area85%$49,246$42,04045
16New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metro Area85%$66,803$56,91745
17Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA Metro Area85%$61,316$52,06146
18San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX Metro Area85%$47,402$40,12847
19Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ Metro Area85%$51,625$43,68347
20Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA Metro Area84%$60,792$51,32048
21Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metro Area84%$77,418$65,34448
22San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA Metro Area84%$83,843$70,59749
23Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metro Area84%$55,072$46,27049
24Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL Metro Area84%$41,539$34,79350
25Colorado Springs, CO Metro Area84%$52,553$44,01650
26Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL Metro Area84%$44,128$36,90951
27Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA Metro Area84%$55,279$46,21351
28Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY Metro Area84%$61,687$51,56051
29Urban Honolulu, HI Metro Area83%$56,010$46,71452
30Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT Metro Area83%$68,158$56,79652
31Greensboro-High Point, NC Metro Area83%$47,092$39,21552
32Syracuse, NY Metro Area83%$55,609$46,16053
33Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metro Area83%$62,195$51,62153
34Jacksonville, FL Metro Area83%$50,475$41,84454
35Rochester, NY Metro Area83%$55,096$45,65654
36Richmond, VA Metro Area83%$56,523$46,75254
37North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL Metro Area83%$48,759$40,31154
38Columbus, OH Metro Area83%$56,143$46,38455
39El Paso, TX Metro Area83%$40,143$33,12655
40Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA Metro Area82%$52,197$43,03955
41New Haven-Milford, CT Metro Area82%$64,654$53,24156
42Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Metro Area82%$49,511$40,68156
43Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY Metro Area82%$65,078$53,46556
44Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Metro Area82%$67,556$55,49956
45Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA Metro Area82%$55,943$45,87457
46Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Metro Area82%$58,842$48,16458
47Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY Metro Area82%$55,413$45,31758
48Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Metro Area82%$50,969$41,67758
49Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metro Area82%$64,778$52,96858
50Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN Metro Area82%$53,141$43,33159
51Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX Metro Area81%$55,548$45,19360
52Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metro Area81%$75,313$61,20260
53Bakersfield, CA Metro Area81%$48,062$39,04560
54Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Metro Area81%$62,123$50,45360
55Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX Metro Area81%$60,697$49,19061
56Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metro Area81%$62,284$50,34262
57Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA Metro Area81%$56,010$45,22862
58Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN Metro Area81%$52,300$42,19262
59Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI Metro Area81%$57,189$46,10962
60Columbia, SC Metro Area81%$49,140$39,58863
61Providence-Warwick, RI-MA Metro Area81%$60,608$48,81363
62Chattanooga, TN-GA Metro Area80%$50,002$40,18963
63Memphis, TN-MS-AR Metro Area80%$49,377$39,61364
64Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metro Area80%$64,539$51,70765
65Raleigh-Cary, NC Metro Area80%$63,146$50,28966
66Worcester, MA-CT Metro Area79%$65,562$52,10767
67Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metro Area79%$53,311$42,15069
68Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ Metro Area79%$57,326$45,31969
69Cleveland-Elyria, OH Metro Area79%$56,090$44,33669
70Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Metro Area79%$54,540$43,10869
71McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX Metro Area79%$37,987$30,02169
72Akron, OH Metro Area79%$54,094$42,63470
73Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL Metro Area79%$51,655$40,65370
74Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metro Area79%$56,948$44,74171
75Charleston-North Charleston, SC Metro Area78%$53,520$41,92172
76Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN Metro Area78%$55,708$43,61572
77Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT Metro Area78%$80,497$62,86073
78Dayton-Kettering, OH Metro Area78%$53,591$41,83573
79Kansas City, MO-KS Metro Area78%$57,526$44,81474
80Boise City, ID Metro Area78%$51,298$39,90874
81Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metro Area78%$73,997$57,54174
82Jackson, MS Metro Area78%$49,223$38,15675
83Toledo, OH Metro Area77%$52,578$40,72076
84Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI Metro Area77%$53,597$41,36077
85Knoxville, TN Metro Area77%$50,750$39,01978
86Wichita, KS Metro Area77%$51,654$39,68178
87St. Louis, MO-IL Metro Area77%$58,897$45,16479
88Greenville-Anderson, SC Metro Area77%$50,625$38,77080
89Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metro Area77%$55,011$42,10880
90New Orleans-Metairie, LA Metro Area76%$53,588$40,99480
91Oklahoma City, OK Metro Area76%$51,184$39,14280
92Pittsburgh, PA Metro Area76%$59,397$45,36980
93Salt Lake City, UT Metro Area76%$55,730$42,39582
94Tulsa, OK Metro Area75%$51,745$39,04685
95Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC Metro Area75%$50,509$37,90386
96Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI Metro Area75%$61,471$45,89288
97San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA Metro Area72%$98,344$70,743101
98Ogden-Clearfield, UT Metro Area69%$58,620$40,504116
99Baton Rouge, LA Metro Area68%$59,873$40,992120
100Provo-Orem, UT Metro Area62%$60,302$37,423159

For more information on GoodHire’s research or to request graphics or an interview about this study, please contact press@goodhire.com.  

SURVEY Methodology

To rank America’s most promising cities for women workers, GoodHire analyzed US Census Bureau data for the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas based on population size and ranked them by the ratio of the female median income to male median income (i.e. the female median as a percent of the male median). Also included in the data are the median earnings of all full-time, year-round workers, both male and female median annual income, males and females making $100,000 or more, and the total number of extra days women would have to work in each city to achieve equal pay. 

DISCLAIMER

The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.


About the Author

As GoodHire’s managing editor, Sara Korolevich produces educational resources for employers on a variety of employment screening topics, including compliance and screening best practices, and writes about GoodHire’s company and product news. Sara’s experience stems from 20+ years working as a B2C and B2B PR and communications professional.