Metropolitan 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.