Less than three in 10 six-figure earners in the U.S. are women, according to the most recent Census Bureau data. Though far from equitable, the percentage of women who are breaking the six-figure threshold is increasing, along with the gender distribution of six-figure earners – empowering them to potentially budget, spend, save and invest more wisely. From 2014 to 2019, the percentage of full-time working women earning $100,000 or more increased by almost four percentage points, from 8.34% to 12.11%. Over the same time, the percentage of six-figure earners who are women grew from 26.08% to 29.52%.
In this study, we took a closer look at the cities with the most female six-figure earners according to those metrics: percentage of women workers earning $100,000 or more and percentage of six-figure earners who are women. To determine our ranking, we compared 100 largest cities in the U.S. and weighted both metrics equally. 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.
This is SmartAsset’s second annual study on the cities with the most female six-figure earners. Our 2020 edition can be found here.
- Three sets of neighbors rank in our top 10. Directly across the Potomac River, the District of Columbia and Arlington, Virginia rank as the top two cities with the most female six-figure earners. Similarly, the nearby cities of Oakland and San Francisco in California along with New York, New York and Jersey City, New Jersey rank well on the two metrics we considered.
- Durham, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia move up. Last year, Durham and Atlanta ranked 20th and 16th, respectively, but this year, they moved up to eighth and 10th places. In Durham, the percentage of six-figure earners who are women rose by more than seven percentage points, from 35.69% in 2018 to 43.20% in 2019. Meanwhile, in Atlanta, that figure increased by more than three percentage points to 36.64%.
1. Washington, DC
While median earnings for full-time female workers in the nation’s capital ($72,750) are only the fifth-highest across the 100 largest U.S. cities, Washington, D.C. takes the No. 1 spot in this study because more than one in three full-time working women are six-figure earners. Additionally, the city ranks third in the percentage of six figure earners who are women (43.40%).
2. Arlington, VA
Of the roughly 53,550 full-time female workers in Arlington, Virginia, about 20,800 of them (38.92%) earn $100,000 or more. This is the second-highest rate for that metric in our study. Arlington ranks 10th for the percentage of six figure earners who are women, making up 39.13% of that high-earning group.
3. Oakland, CA
Moving ahead of San Francisco in this year’s edition of our study, Oakland, California takes the No. 3 spot. This city has the 10th-highest percentage of female workers who are six-figure earners (26.47%) and the sixth-highest percentage of six-figure earners who are women (41.41%). Median earnings for full-time working women in Oakland are roughly $61,400.
4. San Francisco, CA
More than four in 10 women in San Francisco, California earn $100,000 or more annually. This is the highest rate in our study for that metric. This city ranks 16th for our other ranking metric, the percentage of six-figure earners who are women. Census Bureau data shows that women make up 37.37% of six-figure earners in the city.
5. Boston, MA
Ranking fifth in both 2020 and 2021, women in Boston, Massachusetts make up close to 41% of six-figure earners in the city. Boston also ranks 12th-highest for its percentage of women earners who earn $100,000 or more (22.81%).
6. New York, NY
While the median earnings for full-time working women in New York City are roughly $55,200, about one in five women earn $100,000 or more. This city ranks ninth for the percentage of six-figure earners who are women. According to 2019 Census data, women make up 40.56% of six-figure earners in the Big Apple.
7. Sacramento, CA
Though less than 16% of full-time female workers in Sacramento, California earn six figures, the gender breakdown among earners in the top is more equal relative to other cities. Women make up 44.24% of six-figure earners, the second-highest rate for this metric in our study.
8. Durham, NC (tie)
Like Sacramento, Durham, North Carolina ranks significantly higher for its percentage of six-figure earners who are women than its percentage of women workers who earn six figures. Durham has the fourth-highest percentage of six-figure earners who are women (43.20%) and the 24th-highest percentage of women workers who earn $100,000 or more (15.29%).
8. Jersey City, NJ (tie)
Though median earnings for full-time female workers in Jersey City, New Jersey are about $63,000, many women earn more than the six-figure threshold. Census Bureau data shows that across the 100 largest cities, Jersey City has the eighth-highest percentage of female workers who are six-figure earners, (27.51%). The city also ranks in the top fifth of the study when six-figure earners are broken down by gender – more than 36% of this high-earning group are women.
10. Atlanta, GA
While median earnings for full-time female workers in Atlanta are roughly $53,900, almost 23% of women earn six figures (the 11th-highest rate in our study). When it comes to gender distribution at higher income brackets, Atlanta falls slightly farther behind with women making up less than 37% of six-figure earners (the 22nd-highest on our list).
Data and Methodology
To find cities with the most female six-figure earners, SmartAsset compared data across the 100 largest cities. We considered two metrics:
- Percentage of women workers who are six-figure earners. This is the number of full-time female workers who earn at least $100,000 divided by the total number of full-time female workers.
- Percentage of six-figure earners who are women. This is the number of full-time female workers who earn at least $100,000 divided by the number of full-time workers (i.e. female and male) who earn at least $100,000.
Data for both metrics comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey. We ranked each city in each metric and then found each city’s average ranking across the two metrics. That average ranking determined each city’s final score. The city with the highest average ranking received a score of 100. The city with the lowest average ranking received a score of 0.
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