ADVERTISER DISCLOSURE

Cities with the Fastest Changing Gender Pay Gaps

shutterstock_177928994

by on March 31, 2014

In his 2014 State of the Union Address, President Obama spoke about the nation’s gender pay gap, calling it “an embarrassment.” According to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, full-time female workers in the U.S. currently earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.

In honor of Equal Pay Day 2014, NerdWallet crunched the numbers to analyze gender pay gaps across the country.

Narrowing the Pay Gap

Embed this on your own site:

NerdWallet took a look at the cities with the most rapidly changing gender pay gaps to see where income equality between the sexes is declining or rising the most. We calculated men’s income as a percentage of women’s income and compared how that figure changed between 2007 and 2012. We looked at 283 cities with populations over 100,000.

The nationwide gender pay gap decreased by 2.2% between 2007 and 2012. In 2007, the median income for men was about 129% of the median income for women, and that figure fell to about 127% in 2012. In 2012, the median income for male full-time workers in the U.S. was $47,473, while the median income for female full-time workers was $37,412.

Murfreesboro, Tenn. experienced the greatest decrease in gender pay gap of all cities in our analysis—the difference between men and women’s incomes fell nearly 38% between 2007 and 2012. Belonging to the Greater Nashville area, the city is also one of the fastest growing places in Tennessee, with population growing by over 58% between 2000 and 2010.

The city with the second-fastest decreasing gender pay gap is Centennial, Colo., part of the Denver-Aurora metropolitan area. Centennial also made NerdWallet’s analysis of places with the greatest overall income equality in the U.S.

Of the top 25 cities with the fastest-decreasing gender pay gaps, ten are in California.  No other state has more than four cities in the top 25.

Cities with the Fastest-Decreasing Gender Pay Gaps

Rank City 2007 Median Income, Male Full-time 2007 Median Income, Female Full-time 2007 Male Income as % of Female Income 2012 Median Income, Male Full-time 2012 Median Income, Female Full-time 2012 Male Income as % of Female Income 2007-12 Change in Gender Pay Gap
1 Murfreesboro, TN $50,616 $33,234 152.30% $41,799 $36,549 114.36% -37.94%
2 Centennial, CO $68,457 $42,172 162.33% $69,494 $53,942 128.83% -33.50%
3 Lowell, MA $46,693 $32,362 144.28% $42,619 $38,356 111.11% -33.17%
4 Sioux Falls, SD $43,144 $29,530 146.10% $39,296 $34,073 115.33% -30.77%
5 San Bernardino, CA $38,766 $28,478 136.13% $33,831 $31,989 105.76% -30.37%
6 Beaumont, TX $44,994 $26,496 169.81% $41,495 $29,637 140.01% -29.80%
7 Shreveport, LA $42,996 $26,333 163.28% $43,280 $32,166 134.55% -28.73%
8 Miramar, FL $48,825 $35,241 138.55% $45,306 $40,236 112.60% -25.95%
9 Palmdale, CA $48,900 $32,025 152.69% $45,951 $36,160 127.08% -25.62%
10 Corona, CA $52,248 $37,009 141.18% $50,597 $43,582 116.10% -25.08%
11 Pasadena, TX $42,180 $26,889 156.87% $40,969 $30,885 132.65% -24.22%
12 Knoxville, TN $36,152 $26,714 135.33% $35,895 $32,297 111.14% -24.19%
13 Berkeley, CA $70,331 $50,346 139.70% $70,006 $60,318 116.06% -23.63%
14 McKinney, TX $65,533 $41,817 156.71% $64,516 $48,461 133.13% -23.58%
15 Moreno Valley, CA $42,381 $32,919 128.74% $36,746 $34,821 105.53% -23.22%
16 Thornton, CO $49,123 $35,145 139.77% $43,777 $37,542 116.61% -23.16%
17 Bellevue, WA $79,716 $49,918 159.69% $90,199 $66,004 136.66% -23.04%
18 Modesto, CA $48,180 $35,773 134.68% $42,204 $37,531 112.45% -22.23%
19 New Orleans, LA $42,271 $30,029 140.77% $42,408 $35,648 118.96% -21.80%
20 Fayetteville, NC $40,768 $30,728 132.67% $35,980 $32,430 110.95% -21.73%
21 Elk Grove, CA $60,471 $42,727 141.53% $60,537 $50,447 120.00% -21.53%
22 Las Vegas, NV $43,173 $32,582 132.51% $40,902 $36,709 111.42% -21.08%
23 Joliet, IL $46,642 $31,860 146.40% $50,981 $40,668 125.36% -21.04%
24 Plano, TX $70,407 $45,505 154.72% $67,476 $50,401 133.88% -20.85%
25 Fairfield, CA $53,673 $40,767 131.66% $51,755 $46,664 110.91% -20.75%

The alarming distinction of the city with the fastest-growing gender pay gap belongs to Clearwater, Fla., which saw a 49% increase in its pay gap, much higher than anywhere else in the nation. Interestingly, women in Clearwater actually earned a higher median income than men in 2007, but the average male income was much higher in 2012, leading to a sharply growing gender pay gap.

Santa Clara, Cali. is the center of Silicon Valley, which could be part of the explanation for why the city has seen the second-highest growth in gender pay gap of all cities in the country. Average incomes in Santa Clara are significantly higher than in most American cities, and the growing inequality in income for each gender is due to an incredible rise in men’s incomes: the median male income rose a remarkable 27% between 2007 and 2012, while the median female income only saw a 2% hike. The numbers reveal that the recent economic success of the Santa Clara area (which home to many technology companies that are mostly headed by men) has led to a widening gender pay gap.

California and Texas lead all states in the top 25 cities with the fastest-growing gender pay gaps—each has six cities on the list.

Cities with the Fastest-Growing Gender Pay Gaps

Rank City 2007 Median Income, Male Full-time 2007 Median Income, Female Full-time 2007 Male Income as % of Female Income 2012 Median Income, Male Full-time 2012 Median Income, Female Full-time 2012 Male Income as % of Female Income 2007-12 Change in Gender Pay Gap
1 Clearwater, FL $27,480 $29,863 92.02% $47,560 $33,735 140.98% 48.96%
2 Santa Clara, CA $71,743 $55,949 128.23% $91,471 $56,996 160.49% 32.26%
3 Frisco, TX $72,099 $50,144 143.78% $91,365 $52,172 175.12% 31.34%
4 Davenport, IA $36,362 $30,645 118.66% $47,222 $31,698 148.97% 30.32%
5 Boulder, CO $52,329 $45,972 113.83% $62,118 $43,531 142.70% 28.87%
6 Laredo, TX $26,246 $23,296 112.66% $35,282 $25,617 137.73% 25.07%
7 Olathe, KS $51,294 $40,239 127.47% $60,618 $40,458 149.83% 22.36%
8 West Palm Beach, FL $35,850 $34,995 102.44% $44,191 $35,489 124.52% 22.08%
9 Scottsdale, AZ $61,322 $49,111 124.86% $66,846 $45,841 145.82% 20.96%
10 Ann Arbor, MI $52,418 $47,435 110.50% $65,771 $50,436 130.40% 19.90%
11 Savannah, GA $34,240 $31,087 110.14% $34,005 $26,247 129.56% 19.42%
12 El Paso, TX $33,560 $26,445 126.90% $39,983 $27,375 146.06% 19.15%
13 High Point, NC $43,424 $36,287 119.67% $46,586 $33,789 137.87% 18.21%
14 Surprise, AZ $49,842 $39,907 124.90% $51,262 $36,076 142.09% 17.20%
15 Newport News, VA $40,377 $32,769 123.22% $44,418 $31,735 139.97% 16.75%
16 Atlanta, GA $47,433 $42,602 111.34% $55,909 $43,679 128.00% 16.66%
17 Houston, TX $33,104 $31,071 106.54% $39,948 $32,432 123.17% 16.63%
18 Columbus, GA $37,257 $31,710 117.49% $40,264 $30,357 132.63% 15.14%
19 Downey, CA $40,134 $40,597 98.86% $42,036 $37,567 111.90% 13.04%
20 Manchester, NH $42,427 $35,057 121.02% $49,977 $37,316 133.93% 12.91%
21 East Los Angeles, CA $22,300 $20,171 110.55% $25,933 $21,009 123.44% 12.88%
22 Rancho Cucamonga, CA $56,297 $46,538 120.97% $61,895 $46,294 133.70% 12.73%
23 Salem, OR $33,227 $31,307 106.13% $41,715 $35,212 118.47% 12.34%
24 Denton, TX $36,793 $34,345 107.13% $42,094 $35,371 119.01% 11.88%
25 Denver, CO $40,749 $38,090 106.98% $49,731 $42,052 118.26% 11.28%

Methodology

We divided the median income for male full-time workers by the median income for female full-time workers in 283 U.S. cities with populations of at least 100,000. We then subtracted the male income/female income in 2007 from the male income/female income in 2012 to calculate the change in gender pay gap.

All data was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Women’s income image from Shutterstock

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines, and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet's official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.