Methodology: The Most and Least Equal U.S. Cities by Sex

How the rankings were developed.



The city sex equality rankings take into account four factors: employment, wages, industry representation, and education. All data used is from the Census Bureau's 2005-9 American Community Survey

To measure employment equality, the rankings used Census data for "Sex by Age by Employment Status for the Population 16 Years or Over." The percentage of total civilian employed population (16+) that was female was computed, then subtracted from the total female 16+ civilian share of the population. The absolute value of each result was then used, to ensure that male-female equality was measured.

To measure wages, the rankings used Census data for "median earnings in the past 12 months (in 2009 inflation-adjusted dollars) by sex by work experience in the past 12 months for the population 16 years and over with earnings in the past 12 months." The median earnings for females (working full-time, year-round) in a given city was divided by the median earnings for men in that city. For each city, the resulting figure was subtracted from one.

To measure industry representation, the rankings started with a given city's female share of the civilian population. The rankings then looked at gender employment breakdowns by industry in each of the Census Bureau's 13 industry categories (agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, mining; construction; manufacturing; wholesale trade; retail trade; transportation and warehousing, and utilities; information; finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing; professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services; educational services, and health care and social assistance; arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services; other services, except public administration; and public administration). For each industry, the female share of that industry's employment was subtracted from the total female share of the civilian employment, to give a sense of how skewed that industry was in terms of gender. The absolute value of this figure was then taken to ensure that male-female equality was measured. The resulting values for each industry were then totaled to give one figure indicating the total disparities across industries for a given city.

To measure education equality, U.S. News calculated the respective percentages of female associate's, bachelor's, master's, professional, and doctoral degree-holders in each city. These totals were subtracted from the total female share of the population, and each city's average of the absolute value of those figures was calculated.

All of the cities were then scored on each of the above four metrics on a scale of 0 to 25, allowing for a final ranking of 0 to 100. A city with a zero in any category is therefore the best city in that category; a score of zero does not signify perfect equality, nor would a score of 25 in any category (or 100 altogether) signify perfect inequality.

The cities with the lowest totals are the 10 most equal cities on our index. The cities with the highest totals are the 10 least equal cities on our index.