Despite the growing prevalence of women in the workforce, the median earnings of women over the age of 25 was $32,679 in 2017, with men’s median earnings for that same age group at $46,152, per U.S. Census Bureau data, who estimated that women only earn nearly 71% of their male counterparts.
This new analysis takes a closer look at pay differences between men and women to see how it affects couples. To find out whether some places are more likely to have a balance between male and female breadwinners, the study analyzed microdata from the American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census for the 50 largest metros in the country.
In an ideal world, men and women would be equally likely to be the breadwinner of a couple. But the analysis found that in the 50 largest metros, women were the main breadwinner in less than 31% of couples’ households.
In the 10 major U.S. cities with the highest rates of couples with female breadwinners, roughly three in 10 couples have a woman earning more than her partner.
Here’s a closer look at the 10 major U.S. cities that had the highest rates of female breadwinners.
Here, 31.3% of coupled women out earn their partner. This could be thanks to the higher parity of pay in this city, where the gap between men and women’s earnings shrinks to just 17.8%.
Next is Minneapolis, which has almost the same rate of female breadwinners, with 31.2% of coupled women earning more than their partners. Its high ranking is due to a number of factors, but it’s a true standout for low unemployment among women and decent workplace protections for pregnant women and mothers.
Overall, women here make about $0.19 less per dollar than their male counterparts, well in line with the average among all 50 cities included in this analysis.
Providence, R.I. has a female breadwinning rate of 30.5%. While the gender pay gap is above average here, at 19.9%, Providence has above-average rates of women in management positions along with better policies for maternity and parental leave.
Among women in Baltimore who are part of a couple, 30.2% outearn their partners. Here, women earn just 18.8% less than men, giving them a better chance of landing pay that beats their significant other’s salary.
Sacramento, also has one of the highest rates of female breadwinners: 30.0%.
It offers a lower pay gap between genders, with women earning just 14.6% less than men.
Boston is the next city with the highest rate of coupled households for which women are the breadwinners, at 29.6%. The gender pay gap here is 18.9%, which is just below average.
8. San Francisco
SF is another top city for working women. Here, the gap in median pay by gender is 18.7% and women outearn their partners 29.5% percent of the time.
9. Memphis, Tenn.
In Memphis, women are the breadwinners in 29.4% of couples’ households, despite its ranking as the second-worst city for women. It has just a few redeeming factors, however, such as the above-average number of female managers and the below-average childcare costs in Memphis.
10. Richmond, Va.
Couples in Richmond are among those most likely to be led by a female breadwinner, with 29.2% of women out-earning their partners. Women here earn $.192 less for every $1 male workers earn, only slightly above the average. Working women in Richmond are more likely to receive employer-provided health care and more affordable child care costs, which can offset this pay gap.
The gender pay gap is a big contributor to the low rate of female breadwinners, but it affects more than just women. When a woman is paid less, this impacts her partner too. The entire household comes up short, setting back financial goals such as paying down debt, building security and savings, and managing money day-to-day.