From healthcare providers to median income, we rank the top big cities in the country to be a women.

Originally posted at Movoto Blog.
By Randy Nelson.

In the past few months that we’ve been ranking cities here on the Movoto blog, we’ve looked at which ones are the best for some specific groups, like nerd cities and people who like to play video games. When you compare them to the overall population, these subsets of people are pretty small. But what about finding the best cities for a much larger group? One that, say, comprises more than half of all the residents in the United States at 50.8 percent.

We are, of course, talking about women.

When we decided to take on the rather lofty challenge of determining the 10 best cities for women in America, we knew it would need to be a team effort. Luckily, we’re a pretty gender-diverse bunch here at Movoto, and we were able to have a discussion about just how we’d tackle this ranking that involved an equal number of men and women.

We decided to go with a wide range of criteria for this ranking, covering socioeconomic factors like income and women’s health as well as some “fun stuff”—shopping, personal care, and even the number of proverbial fish in the sea for single ladies who’re ready to mingle.

We think we came up with a pretty fresh way to figure out the places women would most want to call home. So, with that, these are the top 10 cities to be a woman in the United States:

1. Washington, D.C.
2. Pittsburgh, PA
3. Santa Ana, CA
4. Anaheim, CA
5. San Francisco, CA
6. Oakland, CA
7. Detroit, MI
8. Orlando, FL
9. Seattle, WA
10. St. Louis, MO

If you’d like to know more about which ones we researched and what we found when we did, keep reading.

Here’s How We Did It

We built this list like we always do when ranking the top 10 cities in any category: by researching criteria we as a team feel best reflect what makes a city excel in a certain respect. We picked six in all, which we then researched using resources including Yelp and the U.S. Census. The criteria were:


  • Median income for women (compared to the cost of living)
  • Percentage of single men
  • Percentage of divorced residents

Retail and services:

  • Number of women’s health physicians
  • Number of women’s clothing stores
  • Number of salons

We then surveyed the 100 most populous cities in the U.S. using these criteria. This ranking is actually the first time we’ve looked at 100 cities; previously we’ve surveyed the top 50. After we tracked down all the data, we ranked the cities from 1 to 100 in each individual criterion—lower numbers being better—then averaged the individual rankings out to reach a final, overall ranking.

Since this ranking is specifically meant to women, we decided to rank all of the per population criteria (like people per clothing store or bridal shop) based solely on the city’s female population. All of our past rankings have been based on the combined male/female populations.

Here’s what we found when looking at the various criteria.

Retail and Services

Women's Clothing StoreSource: Flickr user Matthew Ginger

To track down the number of certain types of stores and services in each city, we turned to Yelp. It’s worked well for us in the past when putting together rankings of the worst dressed and nerdiest cities in the country.

Prescription for Well-being: Women’s Health Specialists

Whether it’s for getting a regular checkup or bringing a child into the world, OB/GYN providers are an important part of a woman’s life and health. We chose this criterion for that reason, and looked at how many women there were in the cities we surveyed for each doctor, since the fewer the number of potential patients each one has, the better the chance of receiving more personalized care and attention.

Atlanta, GA scored best when viewed this way, with one OB/GYN specialist for ever 805 women. Anaheim, CAcame in second with one for every 1,382 women andRochester, NY was third with one for every 1,444 women.

Dress Your Best: Women’s Clothing Stores

If you want to buy a new outfit—and don’t do your shopping online—the number of clothing stores that carry women’s fashions in your city is important. You’ll find similar items at a lot of them, sure, but the more there are the better potential there is for variety.

Anaheim, CA came out on top in this category with one clothing store for every 186 women. Miami, FL was second with one per 212 and Orlando, FL was third with one per 250.

Finishing Touches: Hair and Nail Salons

Hair is essential to completing the look. Finding someone you trust to cut and style your hair can be something of a saga, so having more choice is always a good thing. Some ladies also like to get their nails done professionally—or even just a nice mani-pedi every once in a while. With this in mind, we tracked down the number of hair and nail salons in each city and figured out how many there were per population.

You’ll find the most hair and nail salons per population in Santa Ana, CA, where there is one salon for every 393 women. Another Southern California town, Irvine, CA, was second with one per every 432 women. San Francisco, CA rounded out this category with one salon for every 440 women.


Making MoneySource: Flickr user Tracy O.

In addition to things like shopping and relaxing, we took a look at some more serious criteria that can affect how ideal a city is for its female residents. In order to research the following criteria, we utilized the U.S. Census data from 2011—as official a source as you can get.

Money Matters: Median Income for Women

How much you earn in a year is an important factor in life no matter your sex. With that in mind, we wanted to survey the median income for women in each of the 100 cities on our list. Rather than just rank the cities by that number, however, we went a step further and created an index based on how much women make versus the cost of living in their city. The thinking being that it doesn’t matter if you make more than women in other cities if your city is more expensive to live in. We feel the result is a more accurate comparison.

Based on our calculations, we found that Jacksonville, FL has the highest median income for women adjusted for the cost of living at $41,922. Atlanta, GA was next at $43,119 per year, followed by Plano, TX at $48,705 per year.

Lucky (and Unlucky) at Love: Percentage of Single Men and Divorced Residents

Moving from work life to personal life, we figured it’d be prudent to delve into the prospects in each city for single ladies looking to date. To do this, we used Census data to grab the number of single men in each city, then used that against the total population number to get a percentage.

Boston, MA had the highest percentage of single men at 23 percent, followed by San Francisco, CA at 22.7 percent and Minneapolis, MN at 22.42 percent.

On the flip side of that data was the percentage of residents who’ve gotten a divorce. It turns out that the residents of Honolulu, HI seem happiest being wed, with only 3.06 percent of them being divorced. Santa Ana, CA was second-best with a divorced population of 4.47 percent, while 5.40 percent of Laredo, TX residents identify as divorced.

A Hit with the Ladies

When all the data was collected and the numbers tabulated, a victor emerged: Washington, D.C. This city’s top 25 or higher ranks in almost every category (it was middle of the pack for divorces) earned it the top spot in our overall ranking. If you’re a woman and looking for a place to avoid, that distinction goes to Wichita, KS. While it’s middle-of-the-road in median income for female workers at $33,065 per year, it ranks 84th for single men and near last for our retail criteria.