The 10 cities where the most women outearn their partners

Today, almost half of working women in the U.S. — including 42 percent of working mothers — are their family’s primary or sole breadwinner, according to a joint NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll. That’s up from 37 percent in 2000.
Just looking at couples, the figure drops a little. In heterosexual relationships, 31 percent of women earn the same as or outearn their partners. In 1980, only 13 percent did, according to a study from the Pew Research Center.
Because women still earn far less than men, achieving breadwinner status within a dual-income household is more difficult. In 2017, the median annual wage for women, over the age of 25, was $32,679. Men earned $46,152, according to the U.S. Census Bureau data, which also estimated that women only make about 71 percent percent of what their male counterparts do.
About 70 percent of men and women believe that “being able to support a family financially is very important for a man to be a good partner,” according to the same Pew Research Center study. Only a quarter of men held the same expectation of women, though 39 percent of women felt they needed to pitch in.
Given those attitudes it might not be surprising that there are no cities in the country where female breadwinners exist in more than 32 percent of couples, according to a new analysis MagnifyMoney did of microdata from the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census for the 50 largest metros in the country.
Below are the 10 cities with the most couples where women are the dominant earner.
10. Richmond, Va.
GP: Richmond, Va
An aerial view of Monument Avenue and the skyline of Richmond, Va., in the distance.
Sky Noir Photography by Bill Dickinson | Moment | Getty Images
Share of couples with female breadwinner: 29.2 percent
Working women in this city are more likely to receive employer-provided health care and have more affordable child care costs than many other locations, but they still earn $0.19 less on the dollar than men do.
9. Memphis, Tenn.
GP: Beale Street Music District in Memphis Tennessee USA
Colorful cafe bars at the iconic Beale Street music and entertainment district of downtown Memphis, Tenn.
benedek | iStock | Getty Images
Share of couples with female breadwinner: 29.4 percent
This spot came in near the bottom of MagnifyMoney’s separate list of the best cities for female workers, but it does offer high rates of female managers and below-average childcare costs.
8. San Francisco, Calif.
GP: San Francisco Cable Cars on California Street at sunrise, California, USA
Historic Cable Cars ride on California Street in San Francisco, Calif.
bluejayphoto | iStock | Getty Images
Share of couples with female breadwinner: 29.5 percent
Women in this city benefit from California’s strong parental and family work policies, and the wage pay gap is 18.7 percent.
7. Boston, Mass.
GP: Boston
Boston skyline at night.
FilippoBacci | iStock | Getty Images
Share of couples with female breadwinner: 29.6 percent
The gender pay gap in this city is 18.9 percent, falling just below average.
6. Sacramento, Calif.
GP: Sacramento
Sacramento Capital Building
Janet Kopper | Moment | Getty Images
Share of couples with female breadwinner: 30 percent
This city offer women one of the lowest gender wage gaps of the 50 largest metro areas, with women earning 14.6 percent less than men. It also benefits from the state’s strong policies and benefits for pregnancy, maternity and family leave.
5. Baltimore, Md.
GP: Baltimore Maryland Skyline
Downtown Baltimore, Md., at dusk.
SeanPavonePhoto | iStock | Getty Images
Share of couples with female breadwinner: 30.2 percent
Women here earn 18.8 percent less than men.
4. Providence, R.I.
GP: Providence Rhode Island
A statue of Roger Williams looks out over Providence, R.I., from Prospect Terrace Park.
kickstand | iStock | Getty Images
Share of couples with female breadwinner: 30.5 percent
The wage gap here may be above average, about 20 percent, but the city does have above average rates of women in management positions and strong policies for maternity and parental leave.
3. Columbus, Ohio
GP: Columbus, Ohio skyline and the Scioto River
A view of downtown Columbus and the Scioto Mile looking north into the city.
Sean Reid | iStock | Getty Images
Share of couples with female breadwinner: 30.7 percent
Women in this city earn about $0.19 less per dollar than their male counterparts, about in line with the average among the 50 largest U.S. metros.
2. Minneapolis, Minn.
GP: Colorful Stone Arch Bridge Landmark in Minneapolis
The landmark Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis.
JoeChristensen | iStock | Getty Images
Share of couples with female breadwinner: 31.2 percent
MagnifyMoney also rated this city one of its best places women could work because of its low unemployment rate among women and workplace protections for pregnant women and working mothers.
1. Hartford, Conn.
Hartford Connecticut
Hartford, Conn., has the highest share of couples with a female breadwinner.
DenisTangneyJr | E+ | Getty Images
Share of couples with female breadwinner: 31.3 percent
Women in relationships are most likely to out earn their husband or partner if they live here. That could be due to the city’s high pay parity, where the gap between men and women’s earning shrinks to just 17.8 percent, according to MagnifyMoney.
The cities that had the fewest breadwinning wives and partners were Riverside, Calif., (23.9 percent), Houston (23.5 percent), and Salt Lake City (22.6 percent.)