(WASHINGTON) -- Puerto Rico is the only state or territory in the United States where women earn more than men, raking in 103 percent of what men earn, according to data from the 2009 American Community Survey released by the United States Census earlier this week. However, Puerto Rico is not a high-paying area for either sex, and the estimated median for women's earnings on the island was only $20,563 in 2009.
In fact, only women located in Washington, DC brought home more than the estimated $45,485 average median salary for men in all 50 states. There, women earned an estimated median salary of more than $54,000 in 2009. While female earners in the nation's capital trailed men in the same area by more than $7,000, D.C. is likely to pay women 88 percent of the earnings of men.
"What explains the unusually high earnings in the District of Columbia is those are largely government jobs and a more narrow base of employment than what you would get in other states," said Evelyn Murphy, president of grassroots organization The Wage Report.
Even D.C.'s high-paying jobs have failed to generate equality. Across 10 locations, women employed by the state, local or federal levels of the government failed to take home more than their male counterparts in the same sectors. At the government level, women may run into some "bias for promotions and some within the grade," Murphy said.
In the 10 states or territories that made the list for best areas for women earners, more women older than 25 held a bachelor's or master's degree than men, except in Rhode Island. While only a small percentage of men or women hold advanced doctoral or professional degrees, more men hold such degrees in all 10 areas.
Top Ten Areas for Women by 2009 Median Earnings:
1 - District of Columbia - $54,698
2 - Massachusetts - $45,062
3 - Maryland - $44,937
4 - New Jersey - $44,166
5 - Connecticut - $43,900
6 - New York - $40,584
7 - California - $40,019
8 - Virginia - $39,354
9 - Rhode Island - $39,248
10 - Alaska - $39,017
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