Best & Worst States for Women (2023)

In 2022, women in some parts of America still get the short end of the stick — even as they outnumber men in most states. For instance, women represent nearly two-thirds of all minimum-wage workers in the U.S. Their political representation also suffers, as women make up 51% of the U.S. population but only 24% of the Senate and 27.6% of the House of Representatives. In addition, a recent study found that working women are experiencing the worst effects of the COVID-19 recession when it comes to burnout and are leaving the workforce at a higher rate than men.

In order to determine how women are faring and where they can find the best opportunities relative to where they live, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 25 key indicators of living standards for women. Our data set ranges from median earnings for female workers to women’s preventive health care to the female homicide rate.

Table of Contents

Main FindingsBlue vs. Red StatesAsk the ExpertsMethodology

Main Findings

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(Video) 2022’s Best & Worst States for Women

Best States for Women

Overall RankStateTotal ScoreWomen’s Economic & Social Well-BeingWomen’s Health Care & Safety
1Massachusetts74.6131
2Minnesota72.5516
3New York72.2654
4Hawaii71.6693
5District of Columbia70.55210
6Vermont70.0867
7Maryland67.92128
8Iowa67.77416
9Washington67.35714
10Rhode Island67.31119
11Connecticut66.93162
12Maine66.481312
13Wisconsin65.98819
14Delaware65.461021
15New Jersey63.10265
16Illinois61.332011
17California61.241813
18Virginia60.501718
19Oregon59.122417
20Michigan58.361427
21New Hampshire58.282915
22North Dakota58.142322
23Colorado58.041924
24Nebraska55.553023
25South Dakota54.842131
26Pennsylvania54.793320
27Florida54.682725
28Montana54.662230
29Kentucky53.732532
30Tennessee53.721542
31North Carolina52.043129
32Ohio50.893628
33Arizona50.693234
34Utah49.294126
35Nevada49.002845
36Indiana48.563737
37New Mexico47.973439
38Wyoming46.913840
39West Virginia46.603543
40Kansas45.964235
41Missouri45.554041
42Alaska44.953944
43Georgia43.344436
44Texas42.524338
45Idaho41.614833
46Mississippi38.444549
47Louisiana38.264648
48South Carolina37.354946
49Arkansas35.294751
50Alabama35.285147
51Oklahoma34.535050

Note: With the exception of “Total Score,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that state, where a rank of 1 represents the best conditions for that metric category.

Blue vs. Red States

Ask the Experts

When choosing where to live, women are faced with many factors to consider. For additional insight, we asked a panel of experts to weigh in with their thoughts on the following key questions:

  1. What factors, financial or otherwise, should women consider when choosing a state to live in?
  2. What should a state level public policy agenda for women include?
  3. Are states converging or diverging in issues of importance to women including equal pay, reproductive rights, etc.?
  4. What strategies have proven effective in encouraging more women to run for elected office?
  5. According to a recent study, working women in the workforce are experiencing the worst effects of the COVID-19 recession when it comes to burnout and are leaving the workforce at a higher rate than men. What can companies do to decrease the high turnover rates among working women?

Ask the Experts

Jennie Sweet-Cushman
Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Political Science, Department of Social Sciences – Chatham University
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Sarah Rainey-Smithback
Associate Professor, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, School of Cultural and Critical Studies – Bowling Green State University
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Monica Taylor
Ph.D. – Professor, Department of Educational Foundations; Director of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies – Montclair State University
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(Video) 2021’s Best & Worst States for Women’s Equality

Cynthia Soohoo
Professor of Law, City University of New York School of Law
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Eileen Boris
Hull Professor and Distinguished Professor of Feminist Studies; Professor of History, Black Studies, and Global Studies; Co-President, Santa Barbara Faculty Association – University of California, Santa Barbara
Read More

Julie Novkov
Interim Dean, Professor, and Collins Fellow, Political Science; Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy – University at Albany, SUNY
Read More

More Experts

(Video) 2022’s Best & Worst States for Women’s Equality

(Video) 2021’s Best & Worst States for Women

Methodology

In order to identify the best and worst states for women, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across two key dimensions, “Women’s Economic & Social Well-Being” and “Women’s Health Care & Safety.”

We examined those dimensions using 25 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for women.

We then determined each state and the District’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order the states.

Women’s Economic & Social Well-Being – Total Points: 60

  • Median Earnings for Female Workers: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
    Note: This metric was adjusted for the cost of living.
  • Unemployment Rate for Women: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Job Security for Women: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
    Note: (Number of Female Employees in 2021 - Number of Female Employees in 2020) / Number of Female Employees in 2020.
  • Share of Women Living in Poverty: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Unaffordability of Doctor’s Visit: Double Weight (~8.00 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the percentage of women who could not afford to see a doctor in the past year due to costs.
  • Share of Women-Owned Businesses: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • “Economic Clout” of Women-Owned Firms Rank: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
    Note: Combined economic clout rank is an averaging of the individual rankings of the 1) number, 2) revenue and 3) employment growth of women-owned firms between 2007 and 2018.
  • High School Graduation Rate for Women: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Friendliness Toward Working Moms: Double Weight (~8.00 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “” ranking.
  • Friendliness Toward Women’s Equality: Triple Weight (~12.00 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “” ranking.
  • Share of Women Who Voted in the 2020 Presidential Election: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
    Note: This metric was calculated as follows: Number of Women Who Voted in 2020 Presidential Election / Total Female U.S. Citizen Population in State Aged 18 or Older.

Women’s Health Care & Safety – Total Points: 40

  • Percentage of Residents 12+ Who Are Fully Vaccinated: Full Weight (~2.35 Points)
  • Quality of Women’s Hospitals: Full Weight (~2.35 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals for Gynecology ranking.
  • Share of Women Ages 18-44 Who Reported Having One or More People They Think of as Their Personal Doctor or Health Care Provider: Full Weight (~2.35 Points)
    Note: Primary care providers are specialized in establishing a long-lasting relationship with their patients, and are their medical point of contact. They diagnose, treat and prevent a wide variety of conditions in a way that is tailored to each individual patient. Having a dedicated health care provider, or a provider considered to be one’s personal doctor, is associated with elements of successful health care, such as:
  • Lower health care costs
  • Greater use of preventive services, such as flu shots or mammograms
  • Fewer emergency department visits for non-urgent or avoidable problems
  • Increased patient satisfaction
  • Improvements in chronic care management for chronic conditions such as hypertension and high cholesterol
  • Female Uninsured Rate: Double Weight (~4.71 Points)
    Note: This metric accounts for women aged 16 and older.
  • Share of Women with Good or Better Health: Full Weight (~2.35 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (CDC – BRFSS).
  • Women’s Preventive Health Care: Full Weight (~2.35 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the share of women who were up-to-date on cervical and breast-cancer screenings.
  • Share of Physically Active Women: Full Weight (~2.35 Points)
  • Share of Women Who Are Obese: Full Weight (~2.35 Points)
  • Baby-Friendliness: Double Weight (~4.71 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “” ranking.
  • Depression Rate for Women: Full Weight (~2.35 Points)
  • Suicide Rate for Women: Full Weight (~2.35 Points)
  • Women’s Life Expectancy at Birth: Full Weight (~2.35 Points)
  • Female Homicide Rate: Full Weight (~2.35 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the number of women murdered by men (per 100,000 female residents) and accounts for all ages.
  • Prevalence of Rape Victimization Among Women: Double Weight (~4.71 Points)
    Note: This metric measures instances of rape. According to the U.S Bureau of Justice Statistics, 91 percent of rape victims are female and 9 percent are male.

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Education Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Violence Policy Center, Council for Community and Economic Research, American Express OPEN, U.S. News & World Report, United Health Foundation, United States Mortality DataBase and WalletHub research.

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(Video) The best and worst states for womens' equality

FAQs

Which state is best for women? ›

In the Best States for Gender Equality rankings, California scored high marks in family planning and care with a low maternal mortality rate and accessible paid family leave. Arizona received high marks for its levels of female representation in both business and politics.

What is the most feminine state? ›

District of Columbia

Where is the best place for women to live? ›

Scandinavian countries dominate this 2022 list of the Best Countries for Women. Scandinavian countries dominate this 2022 list of the Best Countries for Women.
...
  • Sweden. #1 in Women Rankings. ...
  • Norway. #2 in Women Rankings. ...
  • Finland. #3 in Women Rankings. ...
  • Denmark. #4 in Women Rankings. ...
  • Switzerland. ...
  • Canada. ...
  • New Zealand. ...
  • Netherlands.

Is Texas a woman friendly state? ›

Out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Texas ranked 44th, giving it the title as the 8th worst state for women in the nation. Texas ranked amongst the worst states including Idaho (45), Mississippi (46), Louisiana (47), South Carolina (48), Arkansas (49), Alabama (50) and Oklahoma (51).

What is the best state for a single woman to live? ›

Minnesota is the best state for a woman to live in the US. Apart from Minnesota, Maine and Vermont are also some of the best states for women in terms of women's social and economic wellbeing.

Which state is safe for girl in USA? ›

States With the Smallest Gender Pay Gap
StateWomen's Economic and Social Well-Being RankWomen's Health and Safety Rank
1. Massachusetts51
2. Minnesota14
3. Iowa310
4. Maine611
6 more rows
Mar 5, 2020

What is the best state to find love? ›

Best & Worst States for Singles
Overall RankStateRomance & Fun
1California1
2New York2
3Florida3
4Texas4
46 more rows
Jan 31, 2022

Which city has highest female to male ratio? ›

We chose nine cities across the globe from New Delhi to Helsinki to retrieve our data.
  • Beijing. China. 48.4% women. 52.8% ...
  • New Delhi. India. 47.2% women. 51.6% ...
  • Rome. Italy. 49% women. 51% ...
  • Canberra. Australia. 50.5% women. ...
  • Helsinki. Finland. 50.5% - 51.7% women. ...
  • Lima. Peru. 51.3% women. ...
  • Ljubljana. Slovenia. 90.2% - 90.7% women (born in 2008)

What is the best state to live in? ›

The top state is Massachusetts, which ranked first in the nation for education and health, fourth for safety, sixth for quality of life, and 10th for its economy. It did rank a low 44th out of 50 states for affordability, but its overall score was enough to eke out a win over the closely-second next state.

What is the best state to find love? ›

Best & Worst States for Singles
Overall RankStateRomance & Fun
1California1
2New York2
3Florida3
4Texas4
46 more rows
Jan 31, 2022

Which is the cheapest state to live? ›

Take a look at the 10 cheapest states to live in for 2022.
  1. Mississippi. Coming in as the cheapest state to live in in the United States is Mississippi with a cost of living index score of 83.3. ...
  2. Kansas. ...
  3. Alabama. ...
  4. Oklahoma. ...
  5. Georgia. ...
  6. Tennessee. ...
  7. Missouri. ...
  8. Iowa.
Sep 26, 2022

Where are women paid the most? ›

San Jose also topped the list of cities where women have the highest median annual income. Women in San Jose and San Francisco earn on average just over $70,000 a year, per GoodHire's study.

What is the best state to live in? ›

The top state is Massachusetts, which ranked first in the nation for education and health, fourth for safety, sixth for quality of life, and 10th for its economy. It did rank a low 44th out of 50 states for affordability, but its overall score was enough to eke out a win over the closely-second next state.

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