Heartland dominates list of the 25 best cities for working women

Best places for working women

Women in the U.S. looking to get ahead in the workplace may instinctively head to the big cities on the coasts.

Instead, they should be leaning inland.

Midwestern cities dominate a list of the top cities for working women, according to data from the New York City-based financial technology company SmartAsset.

The top three best cities for working women are all in the heartland: Rochester, Minnesota, Columbia, Missouri, and Topeka, Kansas. Neither Los Angeles nor New York City makes the top 25.

For this ranking, SmartAsset considered the local pay gender pay gap, the unemployment rate among women, the percentage of women in the labor force, the ratio of working women to working men, and a woman's remaining income after paying for housing.

The pay gap is the difference between what a woman and a man earn for doing the same job. In the U.S., that pay gap is 28 percent, which means that women are making 72 cents of every dollar that men do, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Locally, that pay gap varies widely. For example, in the Provo-Orem metro area, on average, women are paid 45 percent of what men make. By contrast, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, women make 91 percent of what men do.

What pushes Rochester, Minnesota, to the top of the list is a combination of a relatively low pay gap (women make 82.4 percent of what men do), and a relatively high amount of earned income left after paying for housing, at $23,697.

For a closer look at the top 25 metro areas for working women, check out SmartAsset's chart below.