June 18, 2014

Study: Most Women-Friendly States

Where Women Can Find Salary Equality, Good Jobs, and Lots of Malls
Read more about Money Tips for Women

We tend to choose which state to live in based on our job, or our spouse's job, or where we grew up. But maybe our gender should play a guiding role in this decision. Think about it: most women feel they are getting the shaft regarding how much they are paid as compared to men, and they have needs that don't apply to men as much (gynecological care and access to certain kinds of jobs).

CreditDonkey.com used this premise and evaluated all 50 states to find the most advantageous ones for women.

Study Methodology

Looking at each of the 50 states, we examined five factors:

  1. Salary equality
  2. Top-rated women’s hospitals per hospital departments
  3. Percentage of jobs in women-dominated industries
  4. Violent crime rate
  5. Number of malls ranking within 50 largest in America

As a group, men have been making more money than women for years, and in many cases, this is even when they do the same type of work. While there’s not much you can do about the general disparity, you can minimize your chances that it will happen to you by living in a state where salary distribution isn’t overly lopsided. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, we compared the median full-time income of men and women in each state.

We also relied on the U.S. Census for data on jobs in which women usually dominate. These include educational services, healthcare, and social assistance. Although women excel in other areas, of course, this factor is a way to isolate those states that are especially welcoming to certain talents.

When it comes to healthcare, it’s essential to have knowledgeable doctors and top-rated facilities nearby. You want to live in a state that not only has good hospitals in general, but good hospitals that focus on the health needs of women. We looked at the nation’s top-rated hospitals for gynecology, according to U.S. News.

Violent crimes are considered by the FBI to include murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Since women are often the victims of these types of crimes, we ranked states higher that had fewer incidents per 100,000 inhabitants, as calculated by the FBI.

Last, but not least, we enjoy a good shopping spree every once in a while. And to do a spree right, you’ve got to have options. So we looked to see which states are home to one of the 50 largest malls in America, defined by square footage and number of stores.

10 Best States for Women

1. California

Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California

  • Salary equality: $8,183 difference, with men earning more
  • Top-rated health facilities for women: 122
  • Percentage of jobs in women-dominated industries: 21%
  • Violent crime rates: 423.1 per 100,000 inhabitants
  • Malls ranking within 50 largest in America: 4

    Sunshine, surfing, and easy access to the ocean aren’t the only things that make California a great place to be. Coming in at first place, this state leads significantly in top-rated hospitals for gynecology, and has a better salary equality than the nation’s average. The violent crime rate in California ranks in the middle, slightly higher than average. With four of America’s 50 largest malls, a woman can shop efficiently in this state.

    2. New York

    New York, New York
    New York, New York

    • Salary equality: $8,274 difference, with men earning more
    • Top-rated health facilities for women: 67
    • Percentage of jobs in women-dominated industries: 27.3%
    • Violent crime rates: 406.8 per 100,000 inhabitants
    • Malls ranking within 50 largest in America: 5

    With a strong salary equality and plenty of hospitals prominent for their women’s departments, New York has a lot to offer. Nearly a third of the jobs in this state fall into the categories of educational services, healthcare, and social assistance – all industries that are led by women. Having a lower violent crime rate than California (surprise!) and five of the nation’s biggest malls makes this state even more of a frontrunner.

    3. Florida

    Miami, Florida
    Miami, Florida

    • Salary equality: $6,687 difference, with men earning more
    • Top-rated health facilities for women: 79
    • Percentage of jobs in women-dominated industries: 21.5%
    • Violent crime rates: 487.1 per 100,000 inhabitants
    • Malls ranking within 50 largest in America: 5

    Florida boasts the third best salary distribution in the U.S., behind only Nevada and Washington, D.C. With 79 of its hospitals making U.S. News’ list for top-rated gynecological services, it has more facilities on the list than any state aside from California. Also home to five of America’s largest malls, the weather isn’t the only thing that makes Florida one of the best states for women.

    4. Texas

    Dallas, Texas
    Dallas, Texas

    • Salary equality: $9,349 difference, with men earning more
    • Top-rated health facilities for women: 77
    • Percentage of jobs in women-dominated industries: 21.6%
    • Violent crime rates: 408.6 per 100,000 inhabitants
    • Number of malls ranking within 50 largest in America: 5

    Texas, with just about as many top-ranked women’s medical facilities as Florida, has a salary distribution below the national average. The Lone Star State also houses five of the biggest malls in the country.

    5. Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    • Salary equality: $11,916 difference, with men earning more
    • Top-rated health facilities for women: 60
    • Percentage of jobs in women-dominated industries: 26.2%
    • Violent crime rates: 348.7 per 100,000 inhabitants
    • Malls ranking within 50 largest in America: 3

    Pennsylvania has a below-average violent crime rate, and more than 26% of the jobs there are in the three women-dominated industries. In this state, you can find the nation’s second largest mall as well as three others that made the top-50 list.

    6. Illinois

    • Salary equality: $10,953 difference, with men earning more
    • Top-rated health facilities for women: 57
    • Percentage of jobs in women-dominated industries: 23%
    • Violent crime rates: 414.8 per 100,000 inhabitants
    • Malls ranking within 50 largest in America: 4

    Coming in at number six, Illinois has over 50 hospitals with gynecology departments ranking among the best in the nation. With an average violent crime rate and about a quarter of its jobs in educational services, healthcare, or social assistance, this state is worth considering.

    7. Ohio

    • Salary equality: $10,805 difference, with men earning more
    • Top-rated health facilities for women: 44
    • Percentage of jobs in women-dominated industries: 24.1%
    • Violent crime rates: 299.7 per 100,000 inhabitants
    • Malls ranking within 50 largest in America: 2

    Ohio has a below-average violent crime rate and several outstanding women’s medical facilities. Its salary distribution is in line with the nation’s average, and it’s home to two of America’s largest malls.

    8. New Jersey

    • Salary equality: $13,000 difference, with men earning more
    • Top-rated health facilities for women: 37
    • Percentage of jobs in women-dominated industries: 23.7%
    • Violent crime rates: 290.2 per 100,000 inhabitants
    • Malls ranking within 50 largest in America: 3

    The Garden State also makes a great place to call home. Its low violent crime rate, large selection of outstanding women’s health facilities and abundance of jobs in women-dominated industries make this a place worthwhile.

    9. Maine

    • Salary equality: $7,223 difference, with men earning more
    • Top-rated health facilities for women: 4
    • Percentage of jobs in women-dominated industries: 27.5%
    • Violent crime rates: 122.7 per 100,000 inhabitants
    • Malls ranking within 50 largest in America: 0

    Maine has the lowest violent crime rate of any state in America. Even though it’s not overflowing with hospitals top-rated for women’s healthcare or expansive shopping options, it does have an above-average percentage of jobs in educational services, healthcare, and social assistance, second only to Massachusetts (which didn’t make this list).

    10. Vermont

  • Salary equality: $6,759 difference, with men earning more
  • Top-rated health facilities for women: 2
  • Percentage of jobs in women-dominated industries: 27.5%
  • Violent crime rates: 142.6 per 100,000 inhabitants
  • Malls ranking within 50 largest in America: 0

    Vermont’s salary gap between men and women is well below average, and it has as the same percentage of jobs in women-dominated industries as Maine. Additionally, its incredibly low violent crime rate makes this state worth thinking about.


    While we enjoyed putting this list together and considered the factors that we viewed as top contenders for what women would want in their ideal state, your priorities may vary. Ultimately, it’s a choice that should always come down to your personal preferences and needs.

  • Jasmine Williams is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to Jasmine Williams at jasmine@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped families make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

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