2018’s Best & Worst States for Women
In 2018, 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 22% of the Senate and 19.3% of the House of Representatives. And the prevalence of sexual harassment has become a prominent issue in 2018’s political landscape, from #MeToo to #TimesUp.
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 23 key indicators of living standards for women. Our data set ranges from median earnings for female workers to women’s preventive health care to female homicide rate. Read on for our findings, expert insight from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.
Best States for Women
‘Women’s Economic & Social Well-Being’ Rank
‘Women’s Health & Safety’ Rank
|15||District of Columbia||66.45||8||26|
When choosing a new place 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:
- How has the #metoo movement helped or hurt women in 2018?
- What factors, financial or otherwise, should women consider when choosing a city to live in?
- What should a state-level public-policy agenda for women include?
- Are states converging or diverging in issues of importance to women, including equal pay, reproductive rights, etc.?
- What strategies have proven effective in encouraging more women to run for elected office?
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 & Safety.”
We examined those dimensions using 23 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 total score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.
Women’s Economic & Social Well-Being – Total Points: 60
- Median Earnings for Female Workers: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
Note: This metric was adjusted for the cost of living.
- Unemployment Rate for Women: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
- Job Security for Women: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
Notes: (Number of Female Employees in 2016 - Number of Female Employees in 2015) / Number of Female Employees in 2015.
- Share of Women Living in Poverty: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
- Unaffordability of Doctor’s Visit: Full Weight (~5.00 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 (~5.00 Points)
- High School Graduation Rate for Women: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
- Friendliness Toward Working Moms: Double Weight (~10.00 Points)
Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s Best & Worst States for Working Moms ranking.
- Friendliness Toward Women’s Equality: Double Weight (~10.00 Points)
Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s Best & Worst States for Women's Equality ranking.
- Share of Women Who Voted in the 2016 Presidential Election: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
Note: This metric was calculated as follows: Number of Women Who Voted in 2016 Presidential Election / Total Female U.S. Citizen Population Aged 18 Years or Older in State.
Women’s Health Care & Safety – Total Points: 40
- Quality of Women’s Hospitals: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
Note: This metric is based on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals for Gynecology ranking.
- Female Uninsured Rate: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
Note: This metric accounts for all ages.
- Share of Women with Good or Better Health: Full Weight (~2.86 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 (~2.86 Points)
Note: This metric measures the percentage of women who were up-to-date on cervical and breast-cancer screenings.
- Share of Physically Active Women: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
- Share of Women Who Are Obese: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
- Baby-Friendliness: Double Weight (~5.71 Points)
Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s Best & Worst States to Have a Baby ranking.
- Depression Rate for Women: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
- Suicide Rate for Women: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
- Women’s Life Expectancy at Birth: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
- Female Homicide Rate: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
Note: This metric measures the number of females murdered by males (per 100,000 female residents) and accounts for all ages.
- Prevalence of Rape Victimization Among Females: Full Weight (~2.86 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.
- Prevalence of Stalking Victimization Among Women: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
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 Educational Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Violence Policy Center, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Council for Community and Economic Research, U.S. News & World Report, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and WalletHub research.
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