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2022 SmartAsset Study: Cities With the Most Female Six-Figure Earners

Many Americans agree that amid rising prices and economic uncertainty today, it takes a six-figure salary to get by. However, women continue to be underrepresented in higher-paying jobs. According to 2020 Census data, women make up less than 30% of six-figure earners in the U.S. And while this figure marks progress from a decade prior when only 23% of six-figure earners were women, women continue to face tighter budgets than men generally. 

In large cities with higher costs of living, a six-figure salary may be even more necessary to pay for housing costs, food and other necessities, while also growing one’s savings. In this study, SmartAsset analyzed data from the 100 largest U.S. cities to identify and rank where the most female six-figure earners are located in 2022. We considered two metrics: percentage of women workers earning $100,000 or more and percentage of six-figure earners who are women. For more information on our data and how we put it together, read our Data and Methodology section below.

This is SmartAsset’s third annual study on the cities with the most female six-figure earners. Our 2021 edition can be found here.

Key Findings

  • Large cities rank well. The three largest cities in the U.S. (New York, Los Angeles and Chicago) all rank in our top 15 cities with the most female six-figure earners. In all three places, women make up more than a third of six-figure earners and more than one in seven women earn $100,000 or more annually.
  • The percentage of six-figure earners who are women varies widely by city. Nationally, women make up about a third of six-figure earners (29.13%, to be exact). However, this figure is very different across cities. In the District of Columbia, women make up almost 45% of six-figure earners while in Laredo, Texas the figure stands at 17.16%.

1. Washington, DC

Like last year, the nation’s capital takes the No. 1 spot. It has the highest percentage of six-figure earners who are women, making up nearly half of six-figure earners (44.87%). About 34% of female workers earn $100,000 or more, the fourth-highest rate in our study.

2. San Francisco, CA (Tie)

Many female workers in San Francisco, California earn above the six-figure mark. Census Bureau data shows that almost 40% of female workers earn $100,000 or more annually. This is the highest rate in our study for that metric. San Francisco ranks eighth-highest for the other metric we considered: percentage of six-figure earners who are women (38.22%).

2. Arlington, VA (Tie)

Arlington, Virginia ties with San Francisco, California for the No. 2 spot. Census Bureau data shows that of the roughly 52,900 full-time, female workers in the city, 38.44% of them earn $100,000 or more. In fact, median earnings for full-time working women in Arlington are highest in our study, at $81,640.

4. Oakland, CA

Oakland, California moves down a spot this year from its No. 3 ranking in the 2021 edition of this study. Oakland has the eighth-highest percentage of women earning $100,000 or more (25.70%) and the second-highest percentage of six-figure earners who are women (40.88%).

5. New York, NY (Tie)

Full-time working women in the Big Apple earn a median salary of roughly $54,900. A significant proportion of women earn above that mark, however. Census Bureau data shows that roughly a fifth (20.50%, to be exact) of full-time working women in New York City earn $100,000 or more.

5. Boston, MA (Tie)

Boston, Massachusetts ties with New York, New York for the No. 5 spot. Boston has the 11th-highest percentage of women earning $100,000 or more (21.42%) and the fourth-highest percentage of six-figure earners who are women (39.68%).

7. Chicago, IL

Though the median earnings for full-time working women in Chicago, Illinois are about $52,100, roughly one in six women earn $100,000 or more. Chicago ranks 11th-best on our other metric: women make up 37.51% of six-figure earners.

8. Sacramento, CA

Of the roughly 77,800 female, full-time workers in Sacramento, California, about 10,800 (or 13.91%) earn $100,000 or more annually. This is the 27th-highest rate across all 100 cities we considered. Sacramento ranks sixth-highest for our second metric, with the sixth-best gender distribution of six-figure earners.

9. Portland, OR (Tie)

Portland, Oregon ranks in the top 20 cities for both metrics. It has the 15th-highest percentage of women who are six-figure earners (18.19%) and the 19th-best gender distribution of six-figure earners (with women making up roughly 36%). Median earnings for full-time working women in Portland are about $52,800.

9. Jersey City, NJ (Tie)

Neighboring New York City, New Jersey’s Jersey City rounds out our top 10. Of the two metrics we considered, Jersey City ranks better for the percentage of female workers who are six-figure earners (24.95%). This figure is more than twice as high as the national figure, which stands at 12.09%.

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 2020 5-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 best average ranking received a score of 100. The city with the lowest average ranking received a score of 0.

Tips For Maximizing Your Savings

  • Make your savings work for you. To take full advantage of compound interest, it is important to start early. Take a look at our investment calculator to see how your investment in a savings account can grow over time.
  • Contribute to a 401(k). A 401(k) is an employer-sponsored defined contribution plan in which you divert pre-tax portions of your monthly paycheck into a retirement account. Some employers will also match your 401(k) contributions up to a certain percentage of your salary, meaning that if you chose not to contribute, you are essentially leaving money on the table. Our 401(k) calculator can help you determine what you saved for retirement so far and how much more you may need.
  • Consider professional help. A financial advisor can help you make smarter financial decisions to be in better control of your money. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Questions about our study? Contact us at press@smartasset.com

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/nd3000

Stephanie Horan, CEPF® Stephanie Horan is a data journalist at SmartAsset. A Certified Educator of Personal Finance (CEPF®), she sources and analyzes data to write studies relating to a variety of topics including mortgage, retirement and budgeting. Before coming to SmartAsset, she worked as an analyst at an asset management firm. Stephanie graduated from Williams College with a degree in Mathematics. Originally from Philadelphia, she has always been a Yankees fan and currently lives in New York.
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