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Women Earn as Much as (or More Than) Men in These Cities, and Here's Why

Women Earn as Much as (or More Than) Men in These Cities, and Here's Why

By Jillian Kramer

We know that myriad factors affect the gender pay gap. But just how wide that gap is, a new study shows, can depend on simple geography. In some cities, women earn as much as — or even more than — their male counterparts, according to personal finance website NerdWallet.

Using the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data on women's earnings and their labor force participation rate, as well as the cost of living, NerdWallet compared 529 U.S. cities, ranking them from the best to worst work environments for women. In the best environments, the financial site found, women are more likely to have closed the pay gap (duh).

NerdWallet found the top 10 cities — which we've detailed for you, below — share common industries. The best cities for women offer many dynamic opportunities in healthcare and education at hospital systems and universities, two career fields that typically employ a disproportionate number of women, according to the study.

What's more, in 17 of the 529 cities NerdWallet analyzed, women's median earnings were higher than men's earnings. Three of those cities — Durham, N.C.; Skokie, Ill.; and Redwood City, Calif. — also made the top 10 list for the best work environments for women.

In the top three cities in NerdWallet's ranking — Rochester, Minnesota; and Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn. — women's median earnings are more than 90 percent of men's. Not only that, but those cities boast lower-than-national-average rates of unemployment and a lower cost of living. So, without further delay, here are the cities offering the best work environments for women — where they can also hope to make as much or more than men.

1. Rochester, Minn.
In the top city (located not far from Minneapolis), the most recent data shows women’s median earnings were 92.3 percent of men's, which far outpaces the national rate of 79.8, NerdWallet reports. And women who live here don't have to spend that extra money on rent: Rochester's median monthly rent accounts for just is 22.2 percent of monthly earnings, the lowest percentage of the top 10, according to NerdWallet.

2. Minneapolis
Women are closing the pay gap in Minneapolis, too, where their median earnings were 94 percent of men’s in 2014. And much like Rochester, rents here remain low: Paying the median monthly rent takes just 22.4 percent of women’s median earnings, according to NerdWallet.

3. St. Paul, Minn.
In St. Paul, women bring home 91.9 percent of what men make. And, according to NerdWallet, "women [here] participate in the workforce at almost the same rate as men, lagging by only 0.6 percent, which suggests that the working environment is a strong one for women."

4. Iowa City, Iowa
According to NerdWallet's analysis, there are just 24 places where the percentage of women in the workforce is higher than the participation rate of men—and Iowa City is one of them. Here, women top men by 9.4 percentage points. Iowa City also boasts a low unemployment rate of 2.5 percent, and offers ample opportunities for women in healthcare and education.

5. Denton, Texas
Women earn almost as much as men in this Texas city, where their median earnings are at 93.5 percent of men's. That might be because "many women likely work in Denton’s educational institutions — including the University of North Texas, Denton Independent School District and Texas Woman's University, which are among the city’s top employers," according to NerdWallet.

6. Durham, N.C. 
According to NerdWallet this is one place you want to be if you want to earn more than your male peers. "Durham is one of only 17 places in our 529-city analysis where women out-earn men," according to NerdWallet. Women's median earnings are 101.9 percent of men’s median earnings in this southern city.

7. Ann Arbor, Mich.
Ann Arbor has more women in the workforce than most other cities. "Nationwide, the workforce participation rate for women is 10 percentage points less than that of men," NerdWallet explains. "In Ann Arbor, however, the difference is 3.6 percent." This city also offers ample healthcare and education career opportunities.

8. Bismarck, N.D.
Bismarck beats out even Ann Arbor when it comes to women's workforce participation. "The percentage of women participating in the workforce tops that of men by 0.4 percent," according to NerdWallet. "Bismarck also stands out for having the lowest average 2015 unemployment rate of the top 10 cities at 2.4 percent, compared with the national average of 5.3 percent."

9. Skokie, Ill.
Here, women's median earnings exceed that of men's by 3.6 percent. "Skokie also has a AAA bond rating from Fitch IBCA, which indicates strong economic health and financial management," NerdWallet points out.

10. Redwood City, Calif.
This city blows the pay gap away. "In Redwood City, the median salary for women is nearly 10 percent higher than that of men," NerdWallet reports. "Of all 529 cities NerdWallet analyzed, there were only two places — Santa Barbara, Calif., and Gaithersburg, Md — where women out-earned men by a higher percentage."

You can view the complete ranking of all 529 cities here.

More From Glamour:
• How Big is the Pay Gap Really
• Women Make More in These Careers
• Melinda Gates and Time Poverty

• Wage Gap Calculator

Photo Credit: Ryan McVay via Getty Images