Best U.S. Cities for Women to Own a Business

Women made history in the recent midterm elections by increasing their numbers in Congress, and while they are making strides in business, too, they are still not equally represented.

Of incorporated businesses across the top 50 metropolitan areas in the U.S., just 30% are led by women, according to a study by personal finance site MagnifyMoney. Women are more successful in some places than in others. MagnifyMoney surveyed the 50 largest U.S. cities to find the best places for women who want to be their own boss, launch a business -- or both.

MagnifyMoney ranked the cities based on these criteria:

  • Business income for self-employed women
  • Business earnings for self-employed women compared with wage earners.
  • The rate of self-employed women and women with incorporated businesses.
  • Parity of business ownership between women and men.

These are the best U.S. cities for women entrepreneurs.

1. San Francisco
1. San Francisco

1. San Francisco

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 32.1%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 41.7%
  • Women's median business income: $10,378
  • Women's average business income: $31,880

The No. 1 city for women entrepreneurs, San Francisco has one of the higher percentages of total self-employed workers and incorporated business owners who are women. Generally, women entrepreneurs are more set up for success on the West Coast, with five out of the top 10 metros in California. San Francisco ranked at the top largely due to having the highest business incomes earned by women working there. The median business income is $10,378 among women in this city, and women's average business income is $31,880.

Photo: yhelfman / Shutterstock

2. Austin, Texas
2. Austin, Texas

2. Austin, Texas

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 30.1%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 38.6%
  • Women's median business income: $8,262
  • Women's average business income: $25,345

Women's business earnings in Austin were on the higher end in terms of dollars and they're among the highest when comparing women's business income with women's wage earnings. The average self-employed woman or business owner in Austin makes 48.1% of the average income for women in the city.

Photo: GSPhotography / Shutterstock

3. San Jose, Calif.
3. San Jose, Calif.

3. San Jose, Calif.

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 32.2%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 41.1%
  • Women's median business income: $7,657
  • Women's average business income: $30,334

Photo: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock

4. Memphis, Tenn.
4. Memphis, Tenn.

4. Memphis, Tenn.

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 29.8%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 35.1%
  • Women's median business income: $9,068
  • Women's average business income: $20,399

Photo: Shutterstock

5. Nashville, Tenn.
5. Nashville, Tenn.

5. Nashville, Tenn.

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 27.4%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 34.9%
  • Women's median business income: $8,866
  • Women's average business income: $23,373

Photo: f11photo/Shutterstock

6. Los Angeles
6. Los Angeles

6. Los Angeles

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 30.7%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 37.9%
  • Women's median business income: $7,758
  • Women's average business income: $20,945

Photo: Shutterstock

7. San Diego
7. San Diego

7. San Diego

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 30.2%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 39.3%
  • Women's median business income: $8,060
  • Women's average business income: $20,949

Photo: Shutterstock

8. Sacramento, Calif.
8. Sacramento, Calif.

8. Sacramento, Calif.

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 31.9%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 39.1%
  • Women's median business income: $7,053
  • Women's average business income: $23,596

Photo: Cynthia Liang/Shutterstock

9. Seattle
9. Seattle

9. Seattle

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 32.7%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 42.1%
  • Women's median business income: $4,534
  • Women's average business income: $22,713

Photo: Shutterstock

10. Cincinnati
10. Cincinnati

10. Cincinnati

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 28.5%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 35.4%
  • Women's median business income: $7,556
  • Women's average business income: $21,432

Photo: Shutterstock

11. Raleigh, N.C.
11. Raleigh, N.C.

11. Raleigh, N.C.

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 31.4%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 38.4%
  • Women's median business income: $3,526
  • Women's average business income: $23,664

Photo: Shutterstock

12. Boston
12. Boston

12. Boston

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 28.3%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 39.0%
  • Women's median business income: $8,060
  • Women's average business income: $22,574

Above, the Boston Women's Memorial features Phillis Wheatley and Abigail Adams.

Photo: Jorge Salcedo / Shutterstock

13. Las Vegas
13. Las Vegas

13. Las Vegas

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 33.4%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 39.6%
  • Women's median business income: $5,037
  • Women's average business income: $17,566

Photo: nito / Shutterstock

14. Washington, D.C.
14. Washington, D.C.

14. Washington, D.C.

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 32.1%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 41.4%
  • Women's median business income: $5,037
  • Women's average business income: $23,448

Above, customers line up outside the popular Georgetown Cupcakes, co-founded by sisters Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne.

Photo: Andriy Blokhin / Shutterstock

15. Portland, Ore.
15. Portland, Ore.

15. Portland, Ore.

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 33.8%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 42.5%
  • Women's median business income: $4,030
  • Women's average business income: $17,389

Photo: Shutterstock

16. Denver
16. Denver

16. Denver

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 33.6%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 40.4%
  • Women's median business income: $3,022
  • Women's average business income: $19,820

Photo: Shutterstock

17. Houston
17. Houston

17. Houston

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 28.3%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 36.0%
  • Women's median business income: $7,254
  • Women's average business income: $19,029

Photo: Shutterstock

18. Hartford, Conn.
18. Hartford, Conn.

18. Hartford, Conn.

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 24.2%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 34.1%
  • Women's median business income: $8,060
  • Women's average business income: $22,710

Photo: Shutterstock

19. Phoenix
19. Phoenix

19. Phoenix

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 31.5%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 37.5%
  • Women's median business income: $4,534
  • Women's average business income: $16,352

Photo: Shutterstock

20. Providence, R.I.
20. Providence, R.I.

20. Providence, R.I.

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 27.7%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 34.9%
  • Women's median business income: $7,053
  • Women's average business income: $18,161

Photo: Shutterstock

21. New Orleans
21. New Orleans

21. New Orleans

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 30.2%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 34.9%
  • Women's median business income: $6,045
  • Women's average business income: $13,475

Photo: Shutterstock

22. Dallas
22. Dallas

22. Dallas

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 30.4%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 37.2%
  • Women's median business income: $5,037
  • Women's average business income: $17,407

Photo: Shutterstock

23. Kansas City, Mo.
23. Kansas City, Mo.

23. Kansas City, Mo.

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 31.0%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 38.2%
  • Women's median business income: $3,627
  • Women's average business income: $18,160

Above, the Kansas City Farmers Market.

Photo: Scruggelgreen / Shutterstock

24. New York
24. New York

24. New York

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 28.2%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 36.8%
  • Women's median business income: $5,037
  • Women's average business income: $20,053

Above, Bastille Flowers and Events in Chelsea, a floral and event design firm founded by Emily Pinon.

Photo: Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock

25. Baltimore
25. Baltimore

25. Baltimore

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 31.9%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 39.2%
  • Women's median business income: $4,937
  • Women's average business income: $17,227

Photo: Shutterstock

26. Riverside, Calif.
26. Riverside, Calif.

26. Riverside, Calif.

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 30.6%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 35.6%
  • Women's median business income: $5,037
  • Women's average business income: $16,373

Photo: Shutterstock

27. Miami
27. Miami

27. Miami

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 29.6%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 36.5%
  • Women's median business income: $3,526
  • Women's average business income: $13,004

Photo: Shutterstock

28. Columbus, Ohio
28. Columbus, Ohio

28. Columbus, Ohio

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 27.8%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 36.3%
  • Women's median business income: $3,022
  • Women's average business income: $22,010

Photo: aceshot1 / Shutterstock

29. Minneapolis
29. Minneapolis

29. Minneapolis

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 28.7%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 37.9%
  • Women's median business income: $4,332
  • Women's average business income: $18,113

Photo: Shutterstock

30. Milwaukee
30. Milwaukee

30. Milwaukee

  • Incorporated businesses owned by women: 28.8%
  • Percent of self-employed who are women: 35.8%
  • Women's median business income: $4,030
  • Women's average business income: $18,281

The cities at the bottom of the list include Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Louisville, Ky. In Cleveland, women's median business income is $0 - meaning at least half of self-employed women there don't make anything at all. See the full report at MagnifyMoney.

Photo: f11photo/Shutterstock

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