The gender pay gap remains a major concern in the United States. But that hasn’t stopped women from thriving in almost every profession. Some metropolitan areas in the country offer women more opportunities than others to thrive professionally. Here we take a look at the top 10 US metropolitan areas with the highest number of female business owners.
Ranking the metro areas with the most female business owners
Volusion, an e-commerce software platform, compiled a list of the US metropolitan areas that have a large number of female business owners. It studied the US Census Bureau data to find out the percentage of businesses owned by women. Volusion also looked at the median earnings of women business owners.
The list below is for metropolitan areas that have a population of one million or higher. Volusion pointed out that the female labor force participation has been rising since the 1950s, and is expecting to keep increasing in the coming years. According to the US Census Bureau, women account for 31.1% of business owners in the country.
The Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson metro area has traditionally been a manufacturing hub. About 33.8% businesses in the region are owned by women. Most female business owners here are involved in the retail trade. According to Volusion, the median earnings of full-time women entrepreneurs is $51,454. In the last few years, Indianapolis has taken a number of initiatives to develop women-owned businesses.
Arizona has two metro areas on this list, one of them being the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale region where 33.9% of businesses are owned by women. Full-time female business owners in the Phoenix metro area earn only 78.4% of their male counterparts. The categories with the highest participation of women are entertainment, food service, recreation, accommodation, and arts.
About 34.6% businesses in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area are owned by women. The region has a highly-educated workforce and a large number of private businesses that support the government. The Washington DC metro area also has organizations like Beacon and DC Women Business Center to help and promote female entrepreneurs. The median earnings of full-time female business owners in the area is $60,504.
7- Rochester, NY
The Rochester metro area witnessed a significant increase in the number of female business owners between 2007 and 2017. However, the median income of female business owners remains low at $36,357 for full-time owners. Also, women business owners in Rochester earn only 60% of their male counterparts. Last year, the city government implemented the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) hiring goals to support female business ownership.
6- Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise
Nevada offers lucrative tax breaks to attract business. That, coupled with low commercial real-estate prices in the Las Vegas metro area, has encouraged entrepreneurs to start businesses there. About 34.7% businesses in the Las Vegas metro area are owned by women. Full-time female business owners have median earnings of $52,148, which is 73.1% of the median income of male business owners. Most female entrepreneurs are engaged in social assistance, healthcare, and educational services.
5- Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News
The Virginia Beach metro area has 8,761 female business owners, accounting for 34.8% of all business owners. Many of them have businesses in the retail sector. The Old Dominion University has launched a Women’s Business Center to assist female entrepreneurs by offering them low-cost or free tools to build businesses. The median income of full-time female business owners is $41,658.
4- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario
The Riverside metro area in California is a financially rewarding place for female entrepreneurs. According to Volusion, 20,047 business owners in the area are women, presenting 35% of the total number of business owners. Female business owners in the Riverside metro area earn 1.3 times the earnings of all women in the region. Full-time female business owners make 78.3% of their male counterparts.
The female business owners in the Portland metro area are mostly involved in health care, educational services, and social assistance. About 35.1% of businesses in the metro area are owned by women. The median earnings of full-time female business owners is $50,023. Female entrepreneurs also benefit from initiatives such as the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, Women’s Business Center – Mercy Corps, and Women Entrepreneurs of Southern Oregon.
2- Louisville/Jefferson County
A total of 38% businesses in the Louisville metro area are owned by women. Louisville witnessed a staggering 11.3 percentage points jump in the number of female business owners between 2007 and 2017. The median earnings of full-time female business owners in Louisville is $40,959, which is about $10,000 less than the national median. Louisville has non-profits like National Association of Women Business Owners to assist women entrepreneurs.
1- Tucson, Arizona
In Tucson, Arizona, 38.2% businesses are owned by women. The female entrepreneurs mainly work in the areas of arts, recreation, food services, entertainment, and accommodation. Their median earnings are $52,294. The city has organizations and programs like eWomenNetwork and the Fuerza Local Accelerator to help women entrepreneurs succeed.