Sept. 30, 2010— -- Ladies, if you want to earn more than the men, think Puerto Rico. But if you just want to earn, maybe D.C. gets your vote.
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.
Unfortunately, Puerto Rico is not a high-paying area for men or women, and the estimated median for women's earnings in Puerto Rico was only $20,563 in 2009.
In fact, from Alaska to Rhode Island, only women located in one place brought home more than the estimated $45,485 average median salary for men in all 50 states -- the District of Columbia, where women earned an estimated median salary of more than $54,000 in 2009.
While the women earners in D.C. trailed men in the same area by more than $7,000, the capital is likely to pay women 88 percent of the earnings of men -- a high percentage for the United States.
"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, the president of The Wage Report, a the grassroots organization.
Unfortunately, even Washington, D.C.'s high-paying jobs have failed to generate equality.
In fact, 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.
Ladies in the state of Massachusetts skated into the number two spot for women's earnings. Women there earned 20 percent less than women from Washington.
The state that's home to Harvard University, Boston University and M.I.T. may be toward the top for women's earnings because "a lot of women will stay in the area once they complete their education," said Adriana Llames, author of "Career Sudoku: 9 Ways to Win the Job Search Game." "D.C. has a mass of our well educated women, and the more educated women will bring up the averages for all women earners."
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.
What follows is a list of the highest-paying U.S. states or territories for women. However, before you pack up and move to one of the highest earning areas, consider this:
"When you follow your passion, you're going to be happier than following the money," Llames said.
Washington can be a particularly cutthroat environment.
"Eighty percent of jobs are landed through networking," Llames said. So pick a place you want to live and "follow where you have a network, [where] the economy can establish your job and where you can make more money."
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