Although American women have done a great deal of work, through advocacy, lobbying, and sheer numbers in the workforce, to close the gender based pay gap, women still make around eighty cents to each dollar a man makes.
It’s worth noting that this figure is a representation of white women; women of color, men of color, and disabled people, all show an even starker gap in pay.
While policy and inherent bias must be combatted through the country, there are some cities where the gap is much less dramatic. The website Nerdwallet frequently analyzes different states and metro areas around the country to see where different groups may find the best home prices, career opportunities, and other financial factors.
It is worth noting that women have made faster gains in some industries than in others; women teachers and women health care workers, for example, are more likely to have equitable pay when compared to their male colleagues. These are careers where women tend to outnumber men, which may account for the difference.
Moving without a job is just not financially possible. If you’re considering relocating for your career, look at these 5 cities. These are some of the top areas that women might find more equitable pay situations as they continue to advocate for women around the country.
1. Rochester, Minneapolis, and St. Paul, Minnesota
The state of Minnesota contains three of the most equitable cities for women looking to keep their salaries competitive. In Rochester, women’s salaries are over 92% of men’s. One of the major employers in the area is the Mayo Clinic; since the medical center employs so many health care workers, this may account for the better balance.
In Minneapolis, women’s salaries around 94%; in nearby St. Paul, women participate in the workforce at nearly the same rate as men. This implies that the women find the working environment satisfying and equitable.
2. Iowa City, Iowa
In this midwestern city, more women than men participate in the workforce, at a rate of almost 10%. Again, the large number of educational opportunities (The University of Iowa) and health care jobs (the university’s Hospitals and Clinics, the VA healthcare system, and Mercy Iowa City Hospital) may again be helping to pull both the number of employed women and the salary comparisons into the more equitable range.
3. Denton, Texas
Denton is around 50 miles from Dallas, which is rapidly becoming a tech hub for the Lone Star State. Denton again has a concentration of educational institutions, including the Texas Woman’s University and the University of North Texas, which may provide equitable opportunities for women. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Denton State Supported Living Center, and Denton Regional Medical Center are all likely contributors.
4. Durham, North Carolina
In the city of Durham, women actually make more money than men, on average. Their salaries are 101% of their male counterparts, making this one of the only places in the U.S. to truly provide pay equity for women.
Health and education dominate the city, with Duke University and its associated research and health care facilities providing a huge number of the local jobs. Research Triangle Park, a tech-hub for the area, is rapidly gaining ground and providing even more opportunities.
5. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor is yet another area where women’s wages are boosted by major healthcare and educational facilities that offer stronger employment opportunities for women. Specific to Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan has a huge effect on education and health care in the area, employing more than 28,000 people between the educational areas and health care sectors.
There are fewer job opportunities for women in urban areas and more women with families relocate for work-related reasons. However, what this analysis really shows is that the specific geographic location may have less to do with a woman’s success than what industries dominate in the area. Women’s salaries are more equitable in health care and education, therefore areas with strong opportunities in these career fields are going have better pay equity.
So why is women’s pay more equitable in these areas? There are probably several reasons. These have been acceptable careers for women for many years, although their ability to advance in these career fields is newer.
It was acceptable for a woman to be a teacher for a long time, but for a woman to remain a teacher after she was married, or to advance to being a principal or superintendent is a newer option. There are more female mentors in the area to help women overcome career struggles.
In the areas of business and finance, women are just beginning to make inroads into higher level careers. As more women become decision makers in these areas, they may by simple presence increase the pay equity for women overall. Continuing to narrow the gender gap, however, should continue to be incentivized at the federal level, and approached head-on at the business level.