GoodHire uncovered the best places for opportunity and affordability. Discover which American cities are great places to live, work and flourish financially.
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.
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.
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
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
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
|Rank||City||Female Income as % of Male Income||Male Median Income||Female Median Income||Female Extra Work Days For Equal Pay|
|1||Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metro Area||91%||$52,722||$48,117||25|
|2||Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Metro Area||90%||$53,760||$48,580||28|
|3||Fresno, CA Metro Area||89%||$46,493||$41,462||32|
|4||Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL Metro Area||89%||$43,928||$39,111||32|
|5||Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL Metro Area||88%||$44,870||$39,443||36|
|6||Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV Metro Area||88%||$46,616||$40,897||36|
|7||Winston-Salem, NC Metro Area||86%||$45,799||$39,549||41|
|8||Springfield, MA Metro Area||86%||$57,823||$49,914||41|
|9||San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA Metro Area||86%||$58,779||$50,721||41|
|10||Albuquerque, NM Metro Area||86%||$47,705||$40,975||43|
|11||Madison, WI Metro Area||86%||$58,442||$50,039||44|
|12||Stockton, CA Metro Area||86%||$52,242||$44,719||44|
|13||Tucson, AZ Metro Area||86%||$47,180||$40,379||44|
|14||Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL Metro Area||85%||$45,581||$38,923||44|
|15||Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metro Area||85%||$49,246||$42,040||45|
|16||New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metro Area||85%||$66,803||$56,917||45|
|17||Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA Metro Area||85%||$61,316||$52,061||46|
|18||San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX Metro Area||85%||$47,402||$40,128||47|
|19||Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ Metro Area||85%||$51,625||$43,683||47|
|20||Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA Metro Area||84%||$60,792||$51,320||48|
|21||Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metro Area||84%||$77,418||$65,344||48|
|22||San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA Metro Area||84%||$83,843||$70,597||49|
|23||Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metro Area||84%||$55,072||$46,270||49|
|24||Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL Metro Area||84%||$41,539||$34,793||50|
|25||Colorado Springs, CO Metro Area||84%||$52,553||$44,016||50|
|26||Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL Metro Area||84%||$44,128||$36,909||51|
|27||Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA Metro Area||84%||$55,279||$46,213||51|
|28||Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY Metro Area||84%||$61,687||$51,560||51|
|29||Urban Honolulu, HI Metro Area||83%||$56,010||$46,714||52|
|30||Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT Metro Area||83%||$68,158||$56,796||52|
|31||Greensboro-High Point, NC Metro Area||83%||$47,092||$39,215||52|
|32||Syracuse, NY Metro Area||83%||$55,609||$46,160||53|
|33||Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metro Area||83%||$62,195||$51,621||53|
|34||Jacksonville, FL Metro Area||83%||$50,475||$41,844||54|
|35||Rochester, NY Metro Area||83%||$55,096||$45,656||54|
|36||Richmond, VA Metro Area||83%||$56,523||$46,752||54|
|37||North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL Metro Area||83%||$48,759||$40,311||54|
|38||Columbus, OH Metro Area||83%||$56,143||$46,384||55|
|39||El Paso, TX Metro Area||83%||$40,143||$33,126||55|
|40||Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA Metro Area||82%||$52,197||$43,039||55|
|41||New Haven-Milford, CT Metro Area||82%||$64,654||$53,241||56|
|42||Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Metro Area||82%||$49,511||$40,681||56|
|43||Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY Metro Area||82%||$65,078||$53,465||56|
|44||Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Metro Area||82%||$67,556||$55,499||56|
|45||Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA Metro Area||82%||$55,943||$45,874||57|
|46||Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Metro Area||82%||$58,842||$48,164||58|
|47||Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY Metro Area||82%||$55,413||$45,317||58|
|48||Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Metro Area||82%||$50,969||$41,677||58|
|49||Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metro Area||82%||$64,778||$52,968||58|
|50||Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN Metro Area||82%||$53,141||$43,331||59|
|51||Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX Metro Area||81%||$55,548||$45,193||60|
|52||Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metro Area||81%||$75,313||$61,202||60|
|53||Bakersfield, CA Metro Area||81%||$48,062||$39,045||60|
|54||Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Metro Area||81%||$62,123||$50,453||60|
|55||Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX Metro Area||81%||$60,697||$49,190||61|
|56||Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metro Area||81%||$62,284||$50,342||62|
|57||Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA Metro Area||81%||$56,010||$45,228||62|
|58||Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN Metro Area||81%||$52,300||$42,192||62|
|59||Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI Metro Area||81%||$57,189||$46,109||62|
|60||Columbia, SC Metro Area||81%||$49,140||$39,588||63|
|61||Providence-Warwick, RI-MA Metro Area||81%||$60,608||$48,813||63|
|62||Chattanooga, TN-GA Metro Area||80%||$50,002||$40,189||63|
|63||Memphis, TN-MS-AR Metro Area||80%||$49,377||$39,613||64|
|64||Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metro Area||80%||$64,539||$51,707||65|
|65||Raleigh-Cary, NC Metro Area||80%||$63,146||$50,289||66|
|66||Worcester, MA-CT Metro Area||79%||$65,562||$52,107||67|
|67||Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metro Area||79%||$53,311||$42,150||69|
|68||Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ Metro Area||79%||$57,326||$45,319||69|
|69||Cleveland-Elyria, OH Metro Area||79%||$56,090||$44,336||69|
|70||Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Metro Area||79%||$54,540||$43,108||69|
|71||McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX Metro Area||79%||$37,987||$30,021||69|
|72||Akron, OH Metro Area||79%||$54,094||$42,634||70|
|73||Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL Metro Area||79%||$51,655||$40,653||70|
|74||Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metro Area||79%||$56,948||$44,741||71|
|75||Charleston-North Charleston, SC Metro Area||78%||$53,520||$41,921||72|
|76||Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN Metro Area||78%||$55,708||$43,615||72|
|77||Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT Metro Area||78%||$80,497||$62,860||73|
|78||Dayton-Kettering, OH Metro Area||78%||$53,591||$41,835||73|
|79||Kansas City, MO-KS Metro Area||78%||$57,526||$44,814||74|
|80||Boise City, ID Metro Area||78%||$51,298||$39,908||74|
|81||Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metro Area||78%||$73,997||$57,541||74|
|82||Jackson, MS Metro Area||78%||$49,223||$38,156||75|
|83||Toledo, OH Metro Area||77%||$52,578||$40,720||76|
|84||Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI Metro Area||77%||$53,597||$41,360||77|
|85||Knoxville, TN Metro Area||77%||$50,750||$39,019||78|
|86||Wichita, KS Metro Area||77%||$51,654||$39,681||78|
|87||St. Louis, MO-IL Metro Area||77%||$58,897||$45,164||79|
|88||Greenville-Anderson, SC Metro Area||77%||$50,625||$38,770||80|
|89||Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metro Area||77%||$55,011||$42,108||80|
|90||New Orleans-Metairie, LA Metro Area||76%||$53,588||$40,994||80|
|91||Oklahoma City, OK Metro Area||76%||$51,184||$39,142||80|
|92||Pittsburgh, PA Metro Area||76%||$59,397||$45,369||80|
|93||Salt Lake City, UT Metro Area||76%||$55,730||$42,395||82|
|94||Tulsa, OK Metro Area||75%||$51,745||$39,046||85|
|95||Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC Metro Area||75%||$50,509||$37,903||86|
|96||Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI Metro Area||75%||$61,471||$45,892||88|
|97||San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA Metro Area||72%||$98,344||$70,743||101|
|98||Ogden-Clearfield, UT Metro Area||69%||$58,620||$40,504||116|
|99||Baton Rouge, LA Metro Area||68%||$59,873||$40,992||120|
|100||Provo-Orem, UT Metro Area||62%||$60,302||$37,423||159|
For more information on GoodHire’s research or to request graphics or an interview about this study, please contact email@example.com.
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.
GoodHire’s background check platform makes screening easier and more efficient, so you can hire faster. The platform’s integrated compliance features, intuitive workflows, and automated processes help simplify a complex process to give you peace of mind. GoodHire is an accredited, FCRA-compliant employment screening provider. We offer 200+ employment screening services, including:
- Criminal Background Checks: Using criminal background checks as part of your hiring process helps you assess any risks associated with bringing on someone with a criminal record and make an informed decision—before hiring them.
- Driving Record (MVR) Checks: Reviewing your candidate’s driving records and safety data is important for positions where employees, volunteers, or contractors will operate motor vehicles for business purposes.
- Employment Verifications: Verifying your candidate’s work history helps you make informed decisions and instills confidence that you’re hiring the most trustworthy, qualified candidates for the positions you need to fill.
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.