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Where do women outearn men?

Young women in these 50 metro areas earn at least 95% of men, and earn more in 16. This trend reflects the progress and obstacles of the stubborn gender wage gap.

A view of how much women earn compared to men across the US, per Pew Research Center. (Image via Pew; click for full details)

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Young women in Washington DC on average outearn men. In Baltimore and Philadelphia, that total is up to 95% and rising.

All told, in 16 of 250 US metro areas, women under the age of 30 earn the same amount as or more than their male counterparts, according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. Those metros account for nearly one in five working women in the country. Here’s Pew’s data.

The success for women in those cities to combat a persistent gender wage gap fits several themes. For one, the US Northeast as a whole has seen progress for women earners, outpacing other regions in the country. The average gap remains largest in the Midwest, according to a new analysis from Pew. In Milwaukee the number is 89%, and in Pittsburgh it is just 83%.

Nationally, women earn 82 cents for every dollar a man earns, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, up from 57 cents in 1973. This new analysis points to uneven progress.

Those Northeast cities, DC in particular, have gobs of women in professional jobs — especially those who are climbing early. Women are better represented in fields that are full of high-income earners, like tech and others. (Find’s series “Who Makes $200K” for more.) Women have outpaced men in earning college degrees, and it seems that educational attainment is contributing to this progress for young women. That’s the good news.

Women as a % of men Metropolitan statistical area Men Women
120 Wenatchee, WA $25,251 $30,363
114 Morgantown, WV $28,507 $32,373
112 Barnstable Town, MA $32,580 $36,652
110 Gainesville, FL $25,453 $28,000
108 Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL $27,699 $29,830
105 San Diego-Carlsbad, CA $30,755 $32,373
105 Yuba City, CA $30,896 $32,373
102 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA $40,725 $41,717
102 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV $42,615 $43,500
102 San Angelo, TX $27,000 $27,500
102 Champaign-Urbana, IL $30,000 $30,544
102 Lebanon, PA $30,544 $31,078
101 Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA $31,961 $32,373
101 Winston-Salem, NC $31,002 $31,288
101 Iowa City, IA $31,288 $31,562
101 Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA $33,374 $33,598
100 Flagstaff, AZ $30,544 $30,544
100 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA $32,373 $32,373
100 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA $31,288 $31,288
100 Richmond, VA $32,373 $32,373
100 San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA $31,961 $31,961
100 Urban Honolulu, HI $32,580 $32,580
99 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL $30,000 $29,830
99 St. George, UT $29,307 $29,136
99 Chattanooga, TN-GA $30,245 $30,000
99 Wilmington, NC $30,896 $30,544
99 Erie, PA $29,567 $29,202
99 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA $32,373 $31,961
99 Waco, TX $26,978 $26,634
99 Bremerton-Silverdale, WA $30,700 $30,245
98 Norwich-New London, CT $36,222 $35,634
98 Monroe, LA $27,489 $27,000
98 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $50,906 $50,000
98 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL $30,544 $30,000
98 Colorado Springs, CO $31,288 $30,544
98 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV $31,288 $30,544
98 Modesto, CA $31,288 $30,544
98 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT $41,717 $40,725
97 Merced, CA $27,699 $27,000
97 Trenton, NJ $35,000 $34,000
97 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN $33,000 $31,961
97 Asheville, NC $29,016 $28,057
97 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ $31,961 $30,896
97 Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC $26,978 $26,073
96 Roanoke, VA $31,288 $30,000
96 Jefferson City, MO $30,000 $28,765
96 Fort Collins, CO $33,344 $31,961
95 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO $37,769 $36,000
95 Napa, CA $37,288 $35,460
95 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD $37,546 $35,634

Since at least the 1980s, one of the critical components of workplace discrimination has been the gender wage gap. Beyond its social justice importance, the wage gap suggests the American economy is missing out on a crucial labor force. Explanations for the gap have ranged widely. The most worrying was outright discrimination. As labor law and social norms have advanced in the last 50 years, other more insidious obstacles remain, like network effect.

More recently, Harvard University labor economist Claudia Goldin introduced in a new book the concept of “greedy jobs,” to refer to the trend that highly compensated jobs correlate with ones that require lots of hours. That wasn’t always the case: In the 1980s, the highest-earning American men worked fewer hours than lower earners; by 2005, the opposite was true. Since women disproportionately lead childcare and other household work, this has proved a stumbling block for progress. Today, one in five fathers work at least 50 hours a week but just 6% of mothers do, according to a study that blames this for a chunk of the persistent gender wage gap.

Remote work, flexible tech jobs and modernizing concepts of entrepreneurship may all be tools for continuing progress. The success of young women in high-performing economic regions is a welcome sign. Parenthood may remain a lingering obstacle, so employers would be wise to consider how to become more welcoming for mothers in particular.

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Companies: Pew Charitable Trusts
Series: Builders

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