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LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Single Women Outearn Single Men in Only 1 of the US’ Largest Metros (and How That Breaks Down by Generation)

Updated on:
Content was accurate at the time of publication.
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author's opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

There’s a pay equality anomaly between men and women, no doubt. The U.S. Department of Labor reported that women earned just 83.7% of what men did for full-time work in 2022.

A recent LendingTree study found women only outearn their partners in 26% of opposite-sex coupled households. And things don’t look much brighter for the single ladies.

Our latest study found single women outearn single men in only one of the 100 largest U.S. metros with available data: Portland, Maine. We also explored how that gap for singles grows (or shrinks) by generation.

  • Across the 100 largest U.S. metros, single men outearn single women significantly. Single men in these metros earn $33,768, on average — $8,717 more than the $25,051 among single women.
  • Single women outearn single men in just one of those 100 metros. In Portland, Maine, single women earn $25,741, on average — $847 more than single men ($24,894). The gap is widest in San Jose, Calif., where single men make an average of $25,524 more than single women ($73,614 versus $48,090).
  • Single millennial women outearn single millennial men in just six metros. Allentown, Pa. — which has the eighth-lowest gap on our overall list — moves to the top among millennials. In the Pennsylvania metro, single millennial women earn an average of $36,124 — $3,979 more than single millennial men ($32,145). Ogden, Utah, is another metro where single millennial women outearn single millennial men, even if single men (regardless of age) outearn single women there by an average of $7,780.
  • That figure rises to 15 metros when comparing single Gen X women and men. Portland, Maine, is back at the top, with single Gen X women making an average of $40,233 — $12,359 more than single Gen X men ($27,874). Of the 15 metros, nine are in the South.
  • Among single baby boomer women and men, that figure dips to 12 metros. Single baby boomer women outearn single baby boomer men the most out west in Spokane, Wash. There, single baby boomer women earn $19,084 — $5,142 more than single baby boomer men ($14,266). This is a wide variation from millennials as single millennial men in Spokane outearn single millennial women by $10,208, or 81st among the 100 metros.

All the single ladies, put your hands up … if men in your area outearn you. According to our study, a whole lot of hands should be waving in the air.

We looked at the earnings of singles 22 and older who’ve never been married or are widowed, divorced or separated and living alone or with children, relatives or nonrelatives in the 100 largest U.S. metros where data was available. What we found: The gender pay gap — even when there’s no ring on that finger — is real and wide. Single men earn $33,768, on average — $8,717 more than the $25,051 single women in these metros earn.

Of course, the pervasive question is why. While there are all sorts of explanations and excuses bandied about, LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz says sexism and discrimination play at least some part, no matter a woman’s marital status.

“It’d be naïve to think otherwise,” he says. “We’ve seen data forever showing that women often make less than men for doing the same job, and some of that is because of bad factors. However, it’s also clear that other factors are at play, too. For example, women are more likely to work in industries that pay less as a whole. Also, women are more likely to carry caregiving responsibilities for kids, aging parents and others, often leaving them less time to devote to work and limiting their earning potential.”

A March 2023 Wells Fargo report noted that a record 52% of women were single in 2021, accounting for about 26% of the U.S. population.

We found one bright(ish) spot for women’s earnings in Portland, Maine — the only metro in our study where single women outearn single men. There, single women earn $25,741, on average — $847 more than single men ($24,894). The next best place for single women’s earnings is New Haven, Conn., even though single men outearn single women there by $1,642.

Conversely, the gap is widest in San Jose, Calif., where single men make an average of $25,524 more than single women — $73,614 versus $48,090.

What is it about some metros — like Portland, Maine — that see more gender pay equity while others see less? Experts say it often has to do with education rates, industries in the area and women’s career choices.

For example, Portland is in New England, close to numerous prestigious colleges, such as Bowdoin, Bates and Colby, which are all in Maine alone. Research shows a college degree typically boosts one’s earning potential, and women are outpacing men to earn those degrees.

Comparing the average earnings of single men and single women

RankMetroAverage earnings, single menAverage earnings, single womenEarnings difference
1Portland, ME$24,894$25,741-$847
2New Haven, CT$28,752$27,110$1,642
3Lakeland, FL$22,161$19,294$2,867
4Jackson, MS$21,105$16,915$4,190
5Albuquerque, NM$29,320$24,696$4,624
6Toledo, OH$25,346$20,643$4,703
7Greensboro, NC$26,888$22,125$4,763
8Allentown, PA$30,054$25,005$5,049
9Augusta, GA$24,706$19,609$5,097
10Winston-Salem, NC$24,752$19,594$5,158
11Knoxville, TN$24,674$19,338$5,336
12Spokane, WA$27,307$21,940$5,367
13Palm Bay, FL$26,892$21,480$5,412
14Louisville, KY$29,038$23,287$5,751
15Oxnard, CA$35,952$29,998$5,954
16Columbia, SC$28,230$22,254$5,976
17Chattanooga, TN$25,968$19,837$6,131
18Memphis, TN$28,937$22,614$6,323
19San Antonio, TX$29,818$23,402$6,416
20Riverside, CA$31,012$24,590$6,422
21Richmond, VA$32,142$25,713$6,429
22El Paso, TX$23,920$17,431$6,489
23Springfield, MA$28,143$21,637$6,506
24Las Vegas, NV$31,369$24,856$6,513
25Birmingham, AL$28,653$22,080$6,573
26Wichita, KS$26,594$19,992$6,602
27McAllen, TX$23,172$16,545$6,627
28Albany, NY$31,334$24,637$6,697
29Deltona, FL$25,780$18,972$6,808
30Fresno, CA$29,163$22,245$6,918
31Dayton, OH$27,394$20,400$6,994
32Tucson, AZ$28,216$21,012$7,204
33Little Rock, AR$29,154$21,886$7,268
34Columbus, OH$34,508$27,232$7,276
35Cape Coral, FL$26,304$18,930$7,374
36Milwaukee, WI$33,402$25,926$7,476
37Minneapolis, MN$38,306$30,782$7,524
38Fayetteville, AR$35,203$27,633$7,570
39Providence, RI$31,989$24,324$7,665
40Tampa, FL$31,112$23,440$7,672
41New Orleans, LA$29,268$21,515$7,753
42Rochester, NY$29,653$21,883$7,770
43Ogden, UT$32,450$24,670$7,780
44Omaha, NE$34,424$26,624$7,800
45North Port, FL$26,099$18,244$7,855
46Bakersfield, CA$26,748$18,826$7,922
47Oklahoma City, OK$29,037$21,050$7,987
48Atlanta, GA$38,107$30,059$8,048
49Charleston, SC$33,366$25,315$8,051
50Philadelphia, PA$36,212$27,928$8,284
51Cincinnati, OH$32,173$23,853$8,320
52Salt Lake City, UT$39,714$31,268$8,446
53Buffalo, NY$30,159$21,706$8,453
54Detroit, MI$30,644$22,036$8,608
100-metro average$33,768$25,051$8,717
55Akron, OH$28,979$20,242$8,737
56Washington, DC$52,462$43,690$8,772
57Orlando, FL$33,338$24,564$8,774
58Nashville, TN$36,328$27,553$8,775
59Stockton, CA$32,396$23,477$8,919
60Syracuse, NY$29,652$20,731$8,921
61Cleveland, OH$30,602$21,662$8,940
62Los Angeles, CA$38,182$29,204$8,978
63Sacramento, CA$36,439$27,314$9,125
64St. Louis, MO$32,640$23,483$9,157
65Kansas City, KS$35,615$26,358$9,257
66Hartford, CT$37,250$27,773$9,477
67New York, NY$41,583$32,011$9,572
68Virginia Beach, VA$35,750$25,897$9,853
69Baltimore, MD$41,184$31,240$9,944
70Chicago, IL$38,998$28,992$10,006
71Grand Rapids, MI$33,682$23,635$10,047
72Houston, TX$37,143$27,029$10,114
73Charlotte, NC$38,578$28,441$10,137
74Worcester, MA$36,401$26,200$10,201
75Miami, FL$33,497$23,206$10,291
76San Diego, CA$41,282$30,983$10,299
77Indianapolis, IN$35,898$25,587$10,311
78Denver, CO$43,959$33,640$10,319
79Greenville, SC$29,646$19,240$10,406
80Jacksonville, FL$35,354$24,708$10,646
81Pittsburgh, PA$32,597$21,760$10,837
82Phoenix, AZ$38,226$27,337$10,889
83Dallas, TX$41,100$30,145$10,955
84Scranton, PA$29,589$18,108$11,481
85Raleigh, NC$40,727$29,145$11,582
86Portland, OR$38,582$26,960$11,622
87Baton Rouge, LA$29,138$17,099$12,039
88Austin, TX$46,519$34,392$12,127
89Boston, MA$48,477$36,204$12,273
90Harrisburg, PA$35,308$23,028$12,280
91Boise, ID$36,561$24,086$12,475
92Honolulu, HI$37,088$24,314$12,774
93Lancaster, PA$34,345$21,350$12,995
94Bridgeport, CT$47,046$33,177$13,869
95San Francisco, CA$56,113$42,183$13,930
96Provo, UT$37,415$23,041$14,374
97Des Moines, IA$39,895$25,239$14,656
98Colorado Springs, CO$43,574$26,886$16,688
99Seattle, WA$54,328$35,551$18,777
100San Jose, CA$73,614$48,090$25,524

Source: LendingTree analysis of U.S. Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey microdata via Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS).

The gap also appears to be tied to how much men earn in many cases. For example, single men in San Jose, Calif. (at the bottom of the list) earn the most among the 100 metros examined — $73,614. Meanwhile, single men in Portland, Maine, earn about a third of that ($24,894), so it’s easier for women to close the gap there.

“In places where single women earn more than single men, it tends to be a case of these men earning far less than the national average rather than these women overachieving to any big degree,” Schulz says. “For example, single women in Portland earn a few hundred dollars more a year than the 100-metro average for single women, but single men earn nearly $9,000 less than the 100-metro average for single men. That’s a big difference.”

Also, the difference between the highest- and lowest-earning metros in our study for single men was far greater than for single women. For example, single men in Jackson, Miss., earned more than $50,000 less than single men in San Jose ($21,105 versus $73,614). Meanwhile, single women in McAllen, Texas (the metro where single women earn the least on average) earned more than $30,000 less than single women in San Jose ($16,545 versus $48,090).

“While single women had a somewhat lower salary floor, they had a far lower salary ceiling,” Schulz says. “That’s a real problem and a very difficult one to overcome.”

We also looked at how the gender pay gap among singles plays out among three generations:

  • Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996)
  • Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1980)
  • Baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964)

Note: We didn’t include Gen Zers because our data started at age 22 and didn’t offer a proper sample size. 

First, we looked at millennials ages 25 to 40 in 2021. Single millennial women fared a bit better than single women in general, with single millennial men earning an average of $6,912 more than single millennial women ($40,437 versus $33,524). It’s not great, but it’s better than the overall average $8,717 single men earn over single women.

And single women in this generation outearn single millennial men in six metros as opposed to just one overall. At the top of the list for single millennial women is Allentown, Pa. — which has the eighth-lowest gap on our overall list. There, single millennial women earn an average of $36,124 — $3,979 more than single millennial men ($32,145).

Why Allentown? Again, it’s in a state with a slew of highly regarded colleges — the University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon, Lehigh and Villanova, to name a few. In fact, the five metros at the top of the list below are in relative proximity to major universities.

Comparing the average earnings of single millennial men and single millennial women

RankMetroAverage earnings, single millennial menAverage earnings, single millennial womenEarnings difference
1Allentown, PA$32,145$36,124-$3,979
2Portland, ME$37,365$39,365-$2,000
3Cape Coral, FL$31,180$32,663-$1,483
4Toledo, OH$25,757$27,060-$1,303
5Ogden, UT$34,695$35,225-$530
6Knoxville, TN$32,163$32,261-$98
7Columbia, SC$29,905$29,291$614
8Deltona, FL$28,838$28,104$734
9New Haven, CT$33,985$32,995$990
10Little Rock, AR$30,084$29,090$994
11El Paso, TX$28,405$27,317$1,088
12Providence, RI$37,601$35,988$1,613
13Sacramento, CA$42,721$40,960$1,761
14Washington, DC$56,674$54,907$1,767
15Greensboro, NC$29,750$27,848$1,902
16Winston-Salem, NC$31,696$29,196$2,500
17Minneapolis, MN$42,914$40,032$2,882
18Salt Lake City, UT$47,720$44,524$3,196
19Bridgeport, CT$44,220$40,936$3,284
20Albuquerque, NM$38,230$34,683$3,547
21Portland, OR$42,019$38,048$3,971
22Milwaukee, WI$42,463$38,479$3,984
23Jackson, MS$25,962$21,970$3,992
24Akron, OH$30,924$26,771$4,153
25Albany, NY$37,255$33,095$4,160
26Stockton, CA$40,066$35,895$4,171
27Lancaster, PA$37,884$33,670$4,214
28Columbus, OH$38,643$34,401$4,242
29Nashville, TN$42,071$37,579$4,492
30Los Angeles, CA$42,782$38,242$4,540
31Philadelphia, PA$41,992$37,244$4,748
32Richmond, VA$38,279$33,496$4,783
33New York, NY$50,996$46,004$4,992
34Cincinnati, OH$36,867$31,670$5,197
35Memphis, TN$33,388$28,153$5,235
36Augusta, GA$30,054$24,671$5,383
37Las Vegas, NV$37,263$31,803$5,460
38Dallas, TX$43,844$38,250$5,594
39Springfield, MA$34,409$28,806$5,603
40Orlando, FL$35,210$29,385$5,825
41Wichita, KS$32,296$26,396$5,900
42Riverside, CA$36,032$30,092$5,940
43Indianapolis, IN$41,391$35,419$5,972
44Tampa, FL$39,326$33,203$6,123
45Atlanta, GA$41,841$35,631$6,210
46Birmingham, AL$34,733$28,502$6,231
47Hartford, CT$42,827$36,581$6,246
48Greenville, SC$36,168$29,782$6,386
49Omaha, NE$41,569$35,064$6,505
50Houston, TX$41,559$35,027$6,532
51Honolulu, HI$38,422$31,875$6,547
52Denver, CO$50,697$43,940$6,757
100-metro average$40,437$33,524$6,912
53Detroit, MI$36,399$29,266$7,133
54Miami, FL$40,710$33,428$7,282
55Kansas City, KS$44,647$37,285$7,362
56Dayton, OH$35,602$28,041$7,561
57Phoenix, AZ$44,209$36,564$7,645
58Des Moines, IA$44,645$36,961$7,684
59Charleston, SC$38,009$30,270$7,739
60North Port, FL$40,889$32,916$7,973
61San Diego, CA$50,149$42,064$8,085
62Austin, TX$55,593$47,465$8,128
63Tucson, AZ$34,791$26,650$8,141
64Jacksonville, FL$38,984$30,840$8,144
65Cleveland, OH$37,993$29,847$8,146
66Raleigh, NC$45,441$37,086$8,355
67Rochester, NY$39,669$31,035$8,634
68Louisville, KY$37,735$29,031$8,704
69Baltimore, MD$46,478$37,741$8,737
70New Orleans, LA$35,704$26,817$8,887
71Boston, MA$59,895$51,006$8,889
72Syracuse, NY$39,229$30,276$8,953
73Bakersfield, CA$34,036$25,064$8,972
74Baton Rouge, LA$32,609$23,479$9,130
75Worcester, MA$40,974$31,430$9,544
76Oklahoma City, OK$38,165$28,501$9,664
77St. Louis, MO$39,469$29,742$9,727
78Palm Bay, FL$34,818$24,979$9,839
79Chattanooga, TN$37,498$27,458$10,040
80Oxnard, CA$45,225$35,168$10,057
81Spokane, WA$37,889$27,681$10,208
82San Francisco, CA$72,098$61,600$10,498
83Boise, ID$40,191$29,681$10,510
84Buffalo, NY$38,616$28,069$10,547
85Grand Rapids, MI$44,151$33,317$10,834
86Fayetteville, AR$43,242$32,399$10,843
87Lakeland, FL$31,185$20,186$10,999
88Charlotte, NC$46,921$35,780$11,141
89Virginia Beach, VA$44,467$33,238$11,229
90San Antonio, TX$38,089$26,592$11,497
91Chicago, IL$50,172$38,655$11,517
92Colorado Springs, CO$50,483$38,921$11,562
93McAllen, TX$29,683$17,854$11,829
94Pittsburgh, PA$44,526$31,885$12,641
95Fresno, CA$37,304$24,243$13,061
96Provo, UT$44,908$29,083$15,825
97Scranton, PA$36,680$20,548$16,132
98Harrisburg, PA$45,620$27,638$17,982
99Seattle, WA$70,059$50,243$19,816
100San Jose, CA$92,538$66,688$25,850

Source: LendingTree analysis of U.S. Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey microdata via IPUMS.

Single Gen X women ages 41 to 56 in 2021 fared the best of the three generations in our study, outearning single Gen X men in 15 metros. Portland, Maine, is back at the top of the list, with single Gen X women there making an average of $12,359 more than single Gen X men — $40,233 versus $27,874, respectively.

Overall, single Gen X men made an average of $6,131 more than single Gen X women — $46,573 versus $40,442, respectively. But Schulz says given that Gen Xers are in their prime earning years, it’s impressive that women are able to outperform men in that many metros.

Also, it’s interesting to note that in some of the metros where single Gen X women are outperforming single Gen X men, there’s a big difference between earnings for single millennial women and single Gen X women.

In San Antonio, for example, single Gen X women make about $13,000 more than single millennial women ($39,664 versus $26,592 — about a 40% difference), but single Gen X men earn about $3,000 less than single millennial men ($35,458 versus $38,089, respectively).

Comparing the average earnings of single Gen X men and single Gen X women

RankMetroAverage earnings, single Gen X menAverage earnings, single Gen X womenEarnings difference
1Portland, ME$27,874$40,233-$12,359
2Palm Bay, FL$33,287$44,056-$10,769
3Oxnard, CA$46,206$55,420-$9,214
4Lakeland, FL$26,976$32,264-$5,288
5New Haven, CT$40,791$45,261-$4,470
6San Antonio, TX$35,458$39,664-$4,206
7Chattanooga, TN$30,398$33,656-$3,258
8Fayetteville, AR$48,108$51,118-$3,010
9Richmond, VA$44,774$47,164-$2,390
10Albuquerque, NM$40,943$42,778-$1,835
11Jackson, MS$23,407$24,145-$738
12Columbus, OH$43,318$43,958-$640
13Louisville, KY$38,848$39,220-$372
14Augusta, GA$30,935$31,203-$268
15Harrisburg, PA$42,870$42,920-$50
16Birmingham, AL$38,791$38,356$435
17Dayton, OH$36,933$36,156$777
18Knoxville, TN$32,419$31,453$966
19Virginia Beach, VA$43,342$41,904$1,438
20St. Louis, MO$44,358$42,836$1,522
21Riverside, CA$43,692$41,365$2,327
22Fresno, CA$37,015$34,570$2,445
23Providence, RI$45,368$42,784$2,584
24Chicago, IL$51,587$48,970$2,617
25Buffalo, NY$39,053$36,379$2,674
26San Diego, CA$49,669$46,891$2,778
27Memphis, TN$39,159$35,546$3,613
28Pittsburgh, PA$42,640$38,958$3,682
29Springfield, MA$36,049$32,330$3,719
30Salt Lake City, UT$47,431$43,489$3,942
31New Orleans, LA$39,233$34,964$4,269
32Deltona, FL$41,681$37,307$4,374
33Tucson, AZ$44,313$39,849$4,464
34McAllen, TX$29,786$25,306$4,480
35Allentown, PA$45,353$40,846$4,507
36Wichita, KS$38,669$33,856$4,813
37Charleston, SC$45,556$40,715$4,841
38Lancaster, PA$47,286$42,384$4,902
39Spokane, WA$41,243$36,281$4,962
40Hartford, CT$54,482$49,512$4,970
41Cape Coral, FL$39,017$34,006$5,011
42Tampa, FL$44,666$39,559$5,107
43Denver, CO$55,327$50,021$5,306
44Oklahoma City, OK$37,407$31,899$5,508
45Milwaukee, WI$40,528$35,008$5,520
46San Francisco, CA$74,774$68,959$5,815
47Detroit, MI$43,168$37,071$6,097
100-metro average$46,573$40,442$6,131
48Bakersfield, CA$31,638$24,931$6,707
49Winston-Salem, NC$33,947$27,161$6,786
50Omaha, NE$49,695$42,888$6,807
51Austin, TX$53,639$46,797$6,842
52Sacramento, CA$51,120$44,217$6,903
53Los Angeles, CA$50,949$43,924$7,025
54Kansas City, KS$48,519$41,372$7,147
55Scranton, PA$44,133$36,829$7,304
56New York, NY$55,403$48,090$7,313
57Syracuse, NY$42,249$34,883$7,366
58El Paso, TX$34,157$26,762$7,395
59Las Vegas, NV$45,795$38,370$7,425
60Minneapolis, MN$57,831$50,347$7,484
61Rochester, NY$44,585$37,082$7,503
62Baltimore, MD$58,428$50,760$7,668
63Philadelphia, PA$53,791$46,079$7,712
64Miami, FL$44,631$36,911$7,720
65Raleigh, NC$52,014$44,254$7,760
66Grand Rapids, MI$40,822$33,040$7,782
67Toledo, OH$40,305$32,483$7,822
68Washington, DC$74,127$66,251$7,876
69Greensboro, NC$38,061$29,926$8,135
70Albany, NY$48,839$40,285$8,554
71Greenville, SC$39,138$30,561$8,577
72Columbia, SC$44,114$35,523$8,591
73San Jose, CA$89,430$80,780$8,650
74Charlotte, NC$51,151$42,492$8,659
75Atlanta, GA$53,240$44,094$9,146
76Orlando, FL$47,529$38,322$9,207
77Cleveland, OH$46,531$37,217$9,314
78Phoenix, AZ$52,948$43,400$9,548
79Honolulu, HI$60,729$50,530$10,199
80Houston, TX$49,775$39,396$10,379
81North Port, FL$48,347$37,834$10,513
82Little Rock, AR$43,917$33,099$10,818
83Seattle, WA$62,896$51,846$11,050
84Jacksonville, FL$48,594$37,540$11,054
85Akron, OH$46,222$34,807$11,415
86Dallas, TX$54,656$43,179$11,477
87Cincinnati, OH$51,543$40,036$11,507
88Nashville, TN$51,400$38,978$12,422
89Colorado Springs, CO$49,857$37,229$12,628
90Boston, MA$68,758$55,693$13,065
91Des Moines, IA$55,245$41,598$13,647
92Worcester, MA$55,470$41,207$14,263
93Indianapolis, IN$53,706$38,677$15,029
94Portland, OR$56,863$41,790$15,073
95Boise, ID$56,092$40,306$15,786
96Bridgeport, CT$72,064$55,558$16,506
97Provo, UT$61,133$41,992$19,141
98Baton Rouge, LA$43,701$23,903$19,798
99Ogden, UT$53,623$32,435$21,188
100Stockton, CA$49,740$27,973$21,767

Source: LendingTree analysis of U.S. Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey microdata via IPUMS.

As for the regional disparity, we noted before that Portland is in New England, where there are a plethora of institutions of higher learning, which could contribute to its place at the top of this list. But it’s interesting to note that of the 15 metros where single Gen X women outearn single Gen X men, nine are in the South.

The reasons aren’t clear, but it likely has to do with the types of industries in various locations. For example, jobs in manufacturing and agriculture that attract more men typically pay less than jobs on the coasts, where higher-paying industries may be more popular.

As for the baby boomers ages 57 to 75 in 2021, single women in this generation outearn single men in 12 metros — fewer than Gen Xers but more than millennials. Interestingly, Spokane, Wash., jumped to the top of the list here. Single baby boomer women in Spokane earn an average of $19,408 — $5,142 more than single baby boomer men ($14,266). This is starkly different than it is for millennials in Spokane as single millennial men there earn an average of $10,208 more than millennial women.

Why the drastic difference in one metro among the generations? It could be due to the fact that many baby boomers have retired or are on the cusp of doing so. And since Spokane is regularly included in roundups of the best place to retire, this may be a significant contributing factor.

At the bottom of the baby boomer list is Bridgeport, Conn., where single men outearn single baby boomer women by $21,762. This is likely due to the fact that single baby boomer men in Bridgeport outearn men in any of the other metros on our list. They make an average of $51,136, which is more than three times that of the average single male baby boomer salary in Spokane ($14,266).

Comparing the average earnings of single baby boomer men and single baby boomer women

RankMetroAverage earnings, single baby boomer menAverage earnings, single baby boomer womenEarnings difference
1Spokane, WA$14,266$19,408-$5,142
2Portland, ME$18,823$23,826-$5,003
3Lakeland, FL$14,242$18,420-$4,178
4Stockton, CA$17,043$20,427-$3,384
5Rochester, NY$14,845$17,204-$2,359
6Albuquerque, NM$16,420$18,704-$2,284
7Ogden, UT$19,140$20,848-$1,708
8Grand Rapids, MI$20,311$21,380-$1,069
9McAllen, TX$15,140$15,973-$833
10Fresno, CA$19,916$20,472-$556
11New Haven, CT$24,147$24,686-$539
12Tucson, AZ$17,947$18,014-$67
13Wichita, KS$14,865$14,639$226
14Louisville, KY$19,050$18,797$253
15North Port, FL$15,614$15,068$546
16Omaha, NE$21,580$20,963$617
17Cincinnati, OH$19,789$18,973$816
18Minneapolis, MN$26,039$25,184$855
19Winston-Salem, NC$17,242$16,318$924
20Toledo, OH$18,669$17,645$1,024
21Milwaukee, WI$24,787$23,382$1,405
22Indianapolis, IN$23,033$21,207$1,826
23Knoxville, TN$16,112$14,266$1,846
24Greensboro, NC$19,024$17,168$1,856
25Cleveland, OH$19,580$17,611$1,969
26Charleston, SC$21,367$19,261$2,106
27Springfield, MA$21,727$19,564$2,163
28Oklahoma City, OK$18,154$15,872$2,282
29Albany, NY$24,031$21,393$2,638
30El Paso, TX$14,396$11,637$2,759
31Birmingham, AL$18,443$15,619$2,824
32Nashville, TN$23,531$20,687$2,844
33Boise, ID$23,039$20,136$2,903
34Memphis, TN$20,332$17,348$2,984
35Little Rock, AR$19,377$16,383$2,994
36Charlotte, NC$24,094$21,066$3,028
37Jackson, MS$17,254$14,151$3,103
38San Antonio, TX$20,406$17,197$3,209
39Riverside, CA$21,584$18,346$3,238
40Kansas City, KS$21,845$18,365$3,480
41New Orleans, LA$20,063$16,376$3,687
42Akron, OH$20,756$16,965$3,791
43Las Vegas, NV$21,611$17,694$3,917
44Dayton, OH$19,647$15,655$3,992
45Atlanta, GA$27,830$23,727$4,103
46Tampa, FL$20,959$16,851$4,108
47Oxnard, CA$29,697$25,495$4,202
48Syracuse, NY$20,981$16,634$4,347
49San Francisco, CA$34,031$29,624$4,407
50Chattanooga, TN$18,935$14,284$4,651
51Columbia, SC$21,645$16,851$4,794
52Philadelphia, PA$26,133$21,307$4,826
53Detroit, MI$20,978$16,143$4,835
54Boston, MA$34,024$28,875$5,149
'--100-metro average$24,792$19,537$5,255
55Worcester, MA$29,657$24,320$5,337
56Buffalo, NY$25,324$19,945$5,379
57New York, NY$31,185$25,761$5,424
58Phoenix, AZ$26,330$20,831$5,499
59Chicago, IL$26,139$20,602$5,537
60Bakersfield, CA$20,361$14,485$5,876
61Baton Rouge, LA$20,379$14,477$5,902
62Augusta, GA$18,862$12,775$6,087
63Richmond, VA$22,532$16,434$6,098
64Provo, UT$25,564$19,416$6,148
65Portland, OR$25,782$19,500$6,282
66Pittsburgh, PA$25,341$18,774$6,567
67Palm Bay, FL$23,733$16,974$6,759
68Greenville, SC$21,161$14,072$7,089
69Allentown, PA$26,224$18,834$7,390
70Washington, DC$42,910$35,402$7,508
71San Diego, CA$32,432$24,911$7,521
72Los Angeles, CA$30,801$23,159$7,642
73St. Louis, MO$24,329$16,575$7,754
74Seattle, WA$34,065$25,935$8,130
75Scranton, PA$22,721$14,582$8,139
76Denver, CO$33,602$25,266$8,336
77Miami, FL$27,438$18,730$8,708
78Baltimore, MD$35,178$26,364$8,814
79Jacksonville, FL$28,331$19,440$8,891
80Providence, RI$26,164$17,208$8,956
81Honolulu, HI$29,038$19,771$9,267
82Houston, TX$28,875$19,555$9,320
83Virginia Beach, VA$28,283$18,898$9,385
84Cape Coral, FL$22,933$13,527$9,406
85Harrisburg, PA$30,114$20,352$9,762
86Sacramento, CA$29,473$19,710$9,763
87Columbus, OH$29,847$19,881$9,966
88Hartford, CT$32,932$22,840$10,092
89Orlando, FL$28,746$18,387$10,359
90Salt Lake City, UT$30,075$19,644$10,431
91Deltona, FL$25,283$14,521$10,762
92Fayetteville, AR$28,766$17,803$10,963
93Des Moines, IA$25,704$14,073$11,631
94Dallas, TX$34,841$21,933$12,908
95San Jose, CA$49,004$34,266$14,738
96Austin, TX$38,974$23,355$15,619
97Raleigh, NC$36,830$20,971$15,859
98Colorado Springs, CO$42,390$22,341$20,049
99Lancaster, PA$34,963$13,672$21,291
100Bridgeport, CT$51,136$29,374$21,762

Source: LendingTree analysis of U.S. Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey microdata via IPUMS.

Across the country, single baby boomer men outearned single baby boomer women by an average of $5,255 — $24,792 versus $19,537, respectively.

It’s clear single women often face an uphill financial battle that’s steeper than their male counterparts due to lower earnings. There are some things single women can do, however, to set themselves up well for the financial long haul — regardless of whether anyone puts a ring on their finger.

  • Save and invest early. One of the best things single women can do for their overall financial health is to start saving and investing as early as possible. It can, of course, be easier said than done, especially when you’re earning less than your male counterparts, but it’s essential to your financial stability. Those investments and savings give you a cushion to fall back on in an emergency, such as a job loss or medical issue. They can also make it easier for you to make larger purchases, such as a car or a house. “Even if you’re only setting aside a few dollars per paycheck, it makes a difference,” Schulz says. “The key is to do it consistently and take advantage of the time you have for it to grow. That’s especially now with high-yield savings accounts giving returns that would’ve been unheard of just two years ago.”
  • Manage debt wisely If you have debt, you want to try to pay it down. Just don’t do it at the expense of saving money. It may mean you’ll pay a little more interest and take a little more time to pay off that debt. However, it also means that when that debt is $0, you’ll have some money set aside as a cushion. “That’s how you break the cycle of debt that plagues so many people,” Schulz says. “Without savings, the next unexpected expense, like an emergency trip to the vet or a broken-down car, will have to go on your credit card, leaving you right back in debt. Having some savings can allow you to pay cash for at least some of that bill, helping you avoid falling back into that debt after working so hard to get out.”
  • Budget Again, it’s easier said than done, but making a budget and sticking to it is the key to nearly all your other financial goals. Knowing where your money is going and cutting out frivolous spending when you can will help you save, invest and pay off debt.

LendingTree researchers analyzed U.S. Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey microdata via Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) to calculate the average earnings for single women and men across the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan statistical areas where data was available.

Singles include individuals 22 and older who’ve never been married or who are widowed, divorced or separated and living alone or with children, relatives or nonrelatives.

We defined generations as the following ages:

  • Baby boomers: 1946 to 1964 (57 to 75 in 2021)
  • Gen Xers: 1965 to 1980 (41 to 56 in 2021)
  • Millennials: 1981 to 1996 (25 to 40 in 2021)

We didn’t include Gen Zers because our data started at age 22 and didn’t offer a proper sample size.

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