Report finds Grand Rapids has lowest percentage of female breadwinners

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A new report puts Grand Rapids in last place among large metro areas where women earn more than their husbands.

Self Financial last week published a report, “Cities Where Women Outearn Their Husbands,” and it found that out of all large U.S. metropolitan areas, Grand Rapids-Wyoming has the lowest percentage of women earning more than their husbands, at 23.8%.

Overall, in the U.S., 29% of women are the breadwinners in dual-income households.

“Wives who earn more than their husbands were much more unusual 40 years ago,” wrote Lauren Bringle in the report for Self. “In 1981, just 15.9% of wives were breadwinners. By 2019, that figure had nearly doubled, but after years of mostly steady increases, the number of wives who outearn their husbands has plateaued. The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially challenging for working women, with many leaving the workforce or reducing their hours due to lack of child care. Depending on how the effects of COVID-19 continue to impact families, the share of wives who are the primary breadwinners may look very different in the years ahead.”

Methodology

To find the metropolitan areas with the most female breadwinners, researchers at Self Financial analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The researchers ranked metro areas according to the percentage of wives earning more than their husbands. Researchers also calculated the median pay ratio for wives earning more than their husbands, median earnings for wives earning more than their husbands, the median pay ratio for all married women and median earnings for all married women. The pay ratio is defined as women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s.

To improve relevance, only metro areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, metro areas were grouped into cohorts based on population size: small metros, 100,000-349,999 residents; midsize metros, 350,000-999,999 residents; and large metros, 1 million or more residents.

Grand Rapids statistics

In Grand Rapids, the median pay ratio for wives earning more than their husbands was 61.2% with median earnings for wives earning more than their husbands at $58,000, the median pay ratio for all married women at -42% and median earnings for all married women at $32,700.

Top 10 metros with female breadwinners

  1. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida
  2. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota-Wisconsin
  3. Richmond, Virginia
  4. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Maryland
  5. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tennessee
  6. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  7. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida
  8. New York-Newark-Jersey City, New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania
  9. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Delaware
  10. San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas

Bottom 10 metros with female breadwinners

  1. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona
  2. Raleigh, North Carolina
  3. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn
  4. Birmingham-Hoover, Alabama
  5. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
  6. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington
  7. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas
  8. San Jose-Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, California
  9. Salt Lake City, Utah
  10. Grand Rapids-Wyoming

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