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April 04, 2008
15 Best Paying States for Women with a College Degree
What states offer the best median annual earnings for women with a college degree or more? The American Association of University Women (AAUW) recently ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia by this criterion.

Overall in the United States, the median annual earnings for women with a college degree or more during the period of 2003-2005 was $45,684. A total of 15 states rated higher than this national figure. They are:

1) District of Columbia ($60,251)
2) Maryland ($52,758)
3) New Jersey ($52,061)
4) Connecticut ($51,649)
5) California ($51,112)
6) New York ($50,219)
7) Michigan ($49,058)
8) Massachusetts ($48,162)
9) Alaska ($48,043)
10) Virginia ($47,387)
11) Pennsylvania ($47,057)
12) Rhode Island ($47,021)
13) Minnesota ($46,999)
14) Washington ($46,301)
15) Ohio ($45,870)

This same AAUW report "Women's Educational Gains and the Gender Earnings Gap" also ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia by the gender earnings gap in each state, which we reported on previously.

Interestingly, the states in which women with college degrees appear to earn the most are not necessarily the states that have the smallest gender earnings gaps. For example, New Jersey ranked 3rd in terms of earnings (in the list above), but it ranked near the very bottom in the earnings gap rankings (50th), at 66 percent, meaning educated women in New Jersey make 34 cents less on the dollar than their male counterparts. Conversely, women with a college degree in West Virginia have a median annual income of $41,679, --36th in the rankings--but boasted the smallest gender earnings gap (89 percent).

Just four states made both "top 10" lists in terms of offering the highest median annual salaries for educated women and having the smallest earnings gaps. District of Columbia fared the best by far, ranking #2 in gender gap and #1 in median earnings. The other three states were Alaska (#4 in gender gap, #9 in earnings); New York (#5 in gender gap, #6 in earnings); and California (#10 in gender gap, #6 in earnings).

Source: AAUW (

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