Multiple studies have shown a wage gap between men and women and have sought to explain it through everything from job titles to education to the work of starting a family.
ABODO, an apartment search service, is looking into a different wage gap factor: where you live. Analyzing 2015 U.S. Census Bureau salary data on full-time workers, ABODO looked at wage trends in metropolitan cities and how that affected housing affordability.
The results are far more surprising than any we’ve seen so far.
If you want equal pay, move to Durham or Los Angeles
The city with the most equal pay between men and women was in Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Durham women’s median salaries were about 92.6% of what Durham men earned.
The other two cities that were closest to closing the gender gap were in California: Los Angeles and Fresno.
“Our research team believes that Los Angeles is a leader in equal pay because of the high concentration of jobs in progressive industries such as PR [public relations], media, entertainment and healthcare. With a large number of jobs in industries that are leading the charge for equal pay, it’s no surprise to see Los Angeles at the top of the national list,” Sam Radbil, ABODO’s senior communications manager told Ladders.
If you’re a women moving to Utah for a job, perhaps reconsider. Provo, Utah, and Ogden, Utah, were among the top two cities with the highest wage disparity between genders. Baton Rouge, New Orleans, was the other city that topped this unflattering list.
Women make more in two fast-growing occupations: community and social services—women were earning 93.8 cents to a man’s 90 cents— and the installation, maintenance, and repair industry where women earned 92.2 cents over the 90 cents men earned.
How much you make determines what housing you can afford
As anyone who’s looked for housing knows, your salary determines whether you can afford a tiny loft or a three-bedroom apartment.
ABODO also looked into how the gender wage gap in cities would affect what square footage a man or woman could afford if they only spent 30% of their income on rent.
On national average, women could literally afford less space with their salaries: 1,143 square feet compared to men’s 1,448 square feet.
For instance, women are overrepresented in the healthcare industry —they make up 70% of this industry’s labor force— but they are in an occupation that has a wide gender pay gap.
This leads to less square footage, so female healthcare workers in New Orleans can afford 1,551 square feet compared to a male healthcare worker who could afford up to 2,566 square feet.
Women professionals are often told to “own your space,” a method to project confidence and authority in a world of societal expectations that wants you to shrink and apologize. With this study, we have confirmation that getting underpaid will both economically and physically lead to less space that you can own.