Economy

The Best and Worst States for Women in America, From Wages to Life Expectancy

New ranking released on eve of Women's History Month.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

As we enter yet another Women’s History Month, gender justice remains an elusive goal, with full-time women workers in the United States making just 78 cents for every dollar their male counterparts bring in and women representing three-fifths of all minimum wage employees.

When race is taken into account, the gulf is even more pronounced. Latina women bring in just 54 percent of what their white male counterparts make, and African-American women make 64 percent.

To mark Women’s History Month, the personal finance website WalletHub provided its own analysis of the "best and worst" places in the United States for women to live. Evaluating all 50 states for “women’s economic and social well-being” and “women’s health care and safety,” the researchers concluded that Minnesota is the best place for women to live in the United States, followed by Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Louisiana came in last, with South Carolina and Nevada not far behind. California, notably, came in 13th worst in the country, with one of the lowest median incomes, lowest insurance rates and highest unemployment rates for women nationwide.

It is important to note that WalletHub’s gender evaluation excludes any consideration of race, as well as significant wage disparities for transgender women. The analysis also does not touch upon numerous quality-of-life factors such as culture, community connectedness and union density. Nonetheless, its analysis offers some insight into material conditions nationwide.

According to WalletHub's findings, the nation’s capital has the highest unemployment rate for women in the country, while North Dakota has the lowest. However, Washington D.C. also has the highest median income for women workers at $34,241.

Mississippi, meanwhile, has the greatest percentage of women living in poverty, as well as the lowest life-expectancy from birth. Hawaii, in contrast, has the highest life-expectancy at birth.

South Carolina, Alaska, New Mexico, Louisiana and Nevada have the highest homicide rates for women in the country.

Here is WalletHub’s complete ranking of the best-to-worst states for women:

  1. Minnesota
  2. Vermont
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Maine
  5. Massachusetts
  6. North Dakota
  7. Maryland
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Nebraska
  10. Hawaii
  11. Connecticut
  12. Washington
  13. Illinois
  14. Virginia
  15. Iowa
  16. New York
  17. Kansas
  18. Montana
  19. South Dakota
  20. Oregon
  21. Colorado
  22. Ohio
  23. Missouri
  24. New Jersey
  25. Utah
  26. Rhode Island
  27. Tennessee
  28. Florida
  29. Delaware
  30. Idaho
  31. Indiana
  32. Wyoming
  33. North Carolina
  34. Alaska
  35. Kentucky
  36. Arizona
  37. District of Columbia
  38. Michigan
  39. California
  40. Pennsylvania
  41. Georgia
  42. Texas
  43. Oklahoma
  44. West Virginia
  45. New Mexico
  46. Mississippi
  47. Arkansas
  48. Alabama
  49. Nevada
  50. South Carolina
  51. Louisiana

Sarah Lazare is a staff writer for AlterNet. A former staff writer for Common Dreams, she coedited the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahlazare.

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