CIty LivingMetropolitan cities like Washington, D.C., San Francisco and New York City are booming with women seeking their sliver of the American Dream. This is a positive indicator of economic development, since studies have found that women residing in metropolitan areas have more opportunities than their rural counterparts.

Enter Measure of America, a division of the Social Science Research Council and the “Women’s Well-Being: Ranking America’s Top 25 Metro Areas” study. “Women’s Well Being,” which was released in late 2012, used the American Human Development Index to find what cities with the most population of women are best for them to live in. The study ranked three areas: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living.

The research found that the top three metro areas for women are Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Boston while the lowest scores came from Riverside-San Bernardino, San Antonio, Houston, Tampa-St. Petersburg and Pittsburgh. In these three cities, women live longer, earn more over the course their lifetimes and have increased access to higher education.

Several other key factors that have a lasting impact are:

  • Asian American women outlive all other ethnic or racial groups. Their average life expectancy is 88.6 years. African-American women’s life expectancy is 77. Black women in Boston live longer than black women in other cities, with an average age of 80.2 years. African-American women in Pittsburgh have a life expectancy similar to women in developing countries like Honduras.
  • More millennial women have degrees than our foremothers. Over 35 percent of women, ages 25 to 34, have a bachelors’ degree, while 17 percent of women over 65 do.
  • Women in Washington, D.C. ($37,657), San Francisco ($35,380) and Boston ($31,503) earn more annually than their women in Riverside-San Bernardino ($22,306), Pittsburgh ($23,557) and San Antonio ($24,961).
  • African-American women have disproportionate health challenges. For instance, close to 44 percent of black women are obese and we are more likely to be poor and live in violent areas.
  • Women earn more in metro areas where greater shares of women are unmarried. In D.C., where more than one-third of women have never been married, women earn nearly $38,000.

For further comparisons, check out Measure of America’s infographic below.

Measure of America’s

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  • Mademoiselle

    Those income numbers sadden me. $38,000 can’t possible go very far in DC after taxes.

    • Kacey

      Starvation wages!

    • Skye

      Yes, I was thinking of at least 60,000. You can make these in the South with lower cost of living.

    • This! I was thinking that the 3 cities they listed cost of living are EXTREMELY high especially if you are a young career woman ready to move to these places and starting out. These cities was on the top of my list that I would consider after graduating and saving but once I factor everything in to move to these places I was shocked. 30k+ doesn’t get you very far in these places and frankly is very laughable. Sure the income may be lower in southern states as they listed but the price of living isn’t that high on average so there is the trade off with that factor.

    • ro

      wages and cost of living in my opinion are a big factor in overall quality of life, and the top 3 mentioned have a very high cost of living.

    • Treece

      Cost of living in DC is outrageous….Mademoiselle, you are right on with that one. You aren’t doing much at all in the DMV on 38k a year.

  • Apple.See Tree.

    Forgot to mention the high percentage of gay men in these cities. :(