Where are the top cities in the U.S. for women to live? A study released today picks the best and the worst places for a woman’s well-being.
Washington D.C., San Francisco and Boston came out on top as the best three cities to live as a woman, according to the study released today by Measure of America.
In these top three metro areas, women live longer, earn more money and have higher educational attainment.
Conversely, women in six metro areas—Detroit, Pittsburgh, Tampa–St. Pete (Fla.), Houston, San Antonio and Riverside–San Bernardino (Calif.)—are not doing as well as the typical American woman.
The study, called “Women’s Well-Being: Ranking America’s Top 25 Metro Areas,” gauged women’s well-being by using the American Human Development Index, which is comprised of official government data in health, education and living standards. The combination of these factors results into a single number that falls between 0 and 10. In this case, data came from either the U.S. Census Bureau or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The overall American Human Development Index reaches 5.03 and 5.0 for the overall U.S. women’s score.
Unlike other studies looking at gender inequality, this one examines the disparities between different groups of women, explained Kristen Lewis, co-director of Measure of America based in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“By studying differences between groups of women, across race and region, patterns begin to emerge that can inform policymaking discussions and highlight areas that require resources and attention from the public and private sectors,” added Sarah Burd-Sharps, also co-director of the organization in a press statement this week.
Women in Washington, D.C., which has the highest ranking, earn the most money in the country, with median personal earnings of $37,657. They have an American Human Development Index score of 6.8.
Women in San Francisco, which ranks second, has an American Human Development Index score of 6.72. That city has the highest life expectancy in the country, 84.5 years.
Women in New York City-which ranks fifth with an American Human Development Index score of 6.14–have a life span of 83.4 years and median personal earnings of $31,554.
In contrast, bottom-ranked Riverside-San Bernardino (Calif.), which has an American Human Development Index score of 4.54, fares much worse for women. One-in-five women there have never completed high school, and the typical female worker earns about $22,300—wages on par with those that prevailed in the nation as a whole in 1970, the study shows.
The study also underlines considerable health disparities between women of different racial and ethnic groups. For example, Asian American women are the longest-lived women of any ethnic or racial group, with a life expectancy of 88.6 years. They outlive African American women, on average, by 11 years.
African American women in Pittsburgh have a life expectancy (75 years) comparable to that of women in developing countries, such as Honduras or Jamaica. They live five years less than African American women typically do in Boston (80.2 years)
A seven-year gap also separates the longest- and shortest-lived Latina women. In Chicago, their life expectancy is just shy of 90, whereas in San Antonio, it is 82.8.
The range in female life expectancy is smallest for white women, 3.6 years. White women live the longest in San Francisco, 83.9 years and the shortest in Houston, 80.3 years.