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SmartAsset looked at Census Bureau data to find the cities with the most female six-figure earners.

According to Census Bureau data from 2018, there are approximately 5.43 million full-time working women in the U.S. earning at least $100,000. The opportunity to attain higher salaries affects not only their ability to spend and budget in the short term, but also achieve other financial goals like investing in property and saving for retirement. That’s why SmartAsset wanted to find out where in the country the most women are earning six figures.

To find the cities with the most female six-figure earners, we looked at data on the 100 largest U.S. cities across two metrics: the percentage of female workers who are six-figure earners and the percentage of six-figure earners who are women. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.

Key Findings

  • Fewer than one in every eight female workers in the U.S. are six-figure earners. Across the largest 100 U.S. cities, the average percentage of female workers who earn at least $100,000 is less than 12%. Percentages for this metric in our study vary drastically as well, ranging from 1.41% in Hialeah, Florida to 40.17% in San Francisco, California.   
  • The Bay Area and D.C. area are hot-spots for high-earning women. The top four cities in our study are located in either the Bay Area or at our nation’s capital: Washington, D.C.; Arlington, Virginia; San Francisco, California and Oakland, California.
  • Equality for women workers is still elusive. There is no city in the country where at least half of the six-figure earners are women. In fact, the highest percentage in the study for this metric still falls short of 50% – at just 43.05% in Washington, D.C.

1. Washington, DC

The nation’s capital tops this list, with 43.05% of six-figure earners who are women, the top rate for this metric in the study. The percentage of female workers in the city earning at least six figures is 30.82%, the fourth-highest rate for this metric in the study. The median earnings for full-time working women in the nation’s capital is $70,911.

2. Arlington, VA

Situated right across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., Arlington, Virginia ranks as the No. 2 U.S. city with the greatest percentage of women earning at least $100,000. Six-figure earners comprise 39.28% of all women workers in the city, the second-highest rate for this metric in the study. And of all the city’s six-figure earners, 39.66% are women. The median salary for a full-time working woman in Arlington is $80,892.

3. San Francisco, CA

Of the 100 largest U.S. cities, San Francisco has the highest percentage of female workers earning six figures, at 40.17%. Furthermore, San Francisco ranks eighth-highest for the percentage of all six-figure earners who are women, at 38.55%. The median earnings for a full-time working woman in San Francisco is $80,879.

4. Oakland, CA

Right across the Bay from San Francisco, Oakland, California has the third-highest percentage in the study of six-figure earners who are women, at 40.63%, and it ranks eighth-highest in the study for the percentage of female workers earning at $100,000, at 25.17%. The median earnings for a full-time working woman in Oakland is $61,799. Only Washington, D.C., Arlington and San Francisco have higher median earnings for women among the top 10 cities.

5. Boston, MA

Boston, Massachusetts has the fourth-highest percentage in the study of six-figure earners who are women, at 39.87%. Furthermore, the city ranks 12th-highest in terms of women workers as a percentage of all workers who earn at least $100,000, at 19.96%. The median earnings for a full-time working woman in Boston is $57,342.

6. New York, NY

New York, New York has more than 253,000 female full-time workers earning at least $100,000, by far the largest raw total in the study. In terms of the metrics we used to create our ranking, New York City places ninth-highest for the percentage of six-figure earners who are women (at 38.52%) and 16th-highest for the percentage of female workers who earn six figures (at 18.30%). The median earnings for a woman working full-time in New York City is $52,107.

7. Chicago, IL

In Chicago, Illinois, women comprise 37.11% of all six-figure earners, the 12th-highest rate for this metric in the study. The city ranks 18th-highest in terms of six-figure earners as a percentage of all female workers, at 16.30%. The median salary for a full-time female worker in the Windy City is $50,686.

8. St. Paul, MN

St. Paul, Minnesota has the smallest raw number of women earning at least $100,000 in our top 10 – just 6,628. That means 12.79% of the 51,820 full-time female workers in the city earn in the six figures, the 31st-highest percentage across all 100 cities we considered. Furthermore, women comprise 42.09% of all six-figure earners in St. Paul, the second-highest rate for this metric in the study. The median income for full-time working women in St. Paul is $44,301.

9. Portland, OR

The number of workers in Portland, Oregon earning at least $100,000 as a percentage of all female workers in the city totals 17.31%. Meanwhile, women as a percentage of all six-figure earners totals 36.49%. The median earnings for a full-time working woman in Portland is $53,119.

10. Sacramento, CA

The final city in our top 10 is Sacramento, California, which ranks seventh-highest for women as a percentage of all six-figure earners, at 38.83%. The city also ranks within the top third of the study, at 28th-highest, for six-figure earners as a percentage of all female workers, at 13.12%. The median earnings for a full-time working woman in Sacramento is $50,005.

Data and Methodology

To find the cities with the most female six-figure earners, SmartAsset considered data for the 100 largest U.S. cities across the following two metrics:

  • Percentage of women workers who are six-figure earners. This is the percentage of full-time female workers who earn at least $100,000 out of the total number of full-time women workers.
  • Percentage of six-figure earners who are women. This is the percentage of full-time women workers earning at least $100,000 out of the total number of full-time women workers.

All data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2018 1-year American Community Survey.

First, we ranked each city according to each metric. We then found each city’s average ranking and used this ranking to create our final score. The city with the highest average ranking received a score of 100, and the city with the lowest average ranking received a score of 0.

Tips for Managing Your Money

  • Keep your budget top of mind. One of the best ways to save more is through budgeting. Our budget calculator can help with this. Beyond letting you see how much you spend each month, you can also see how cutting back on discretionary expenses can increase your savings rate.
  • Track your taxes. As your paycheck goes up, so do your taxes. See what you’ll owe the government with SmartAsset’s free income tax calculator.
  • If possible, invest in expert advice. A financial advisor can be helpful, especially if you are earning six figures. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool connects you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be connected with local advisors, get started now.

Questions about our study? Contact press@smartasset.com

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/South_agency

Ben Geier, CEPF® Ben Geier is an experienced financial writer currently serving as a retirement and investing expert at SmartAsset. His work has appeared on Fortune, Mic.com and CNNMoney. Ben is a graduate of Northwestern University and a part-time student at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®). When he isn’t helping people understand their finances, Ben likes watching hockey, listening to music and experimenting in the kitchen. Originally from Alexandria, VA, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife.
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