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DC Women Have the Highest Median Income—and the Highest Unemployment Rate, According to State-Ranking Website

Photograph by Jacob Ammentorp Lund via iStock

Is Washington, DC, a good place to be a woman? A new study by WalletHub, which ranks cities and states by different criteria more or less every day, purports to say which states are the best and worst places in the US to be a woman in 2016. And DC didn’t do all that well. While lots of young women are moving into the District, WalletHub’s ranking says there are 36 states where life is better for women right now.

Maryland and Virginia ranked much higher on WalletHub’s list, ringing in at No. 7 and No. 14, respectively. Two main indexes determined where states landed on the list: Women’s Economic and Social Well Being and Women’s Health Care and Safety Ranking. DC came in at 30 for the first and 37 for the second ranking. Median earnings, unemployment rate, the percentage of women living in poverty, high school dropout rate for women, percentage of uninsured women, women’s life expectance at birth, and female homicide rate were among the factors considered.

The study did have good news for employed women in the District: WalletHub identified DC as the “state” with the highest median earnings–adjusted for cost of living–for female workers. In the median earnings category, DC was followed by Virginia and Maryland, rounding out the DC metro area as a great place for women to get paid well. DC was also ranked highest for the percentage of women who voted in the 2012 presidential election and second-highest for lowest female uninsured rate.

But there was another category in which DC was ranked highest: unemployment rate for women. According to WalletHub, the unemployment rate for women in DC is three times as high as the state with the lowest unemployment rate, North Dakota. While WalletHub says working women in DC are getting paid more than they are in other states, they also say that a woman is simultaneously less likely to be employed at all in DC.

So, if you’re a young, well-educated woman thinking of becoming one of the many moving to DC right now, maybe find a job before you sign your lease.

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Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.