The 10 Worst Cities For Women In Iowa For 2020

by Kathy Morris
Rankings - 9 months ago

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It is 2020, and while times are changing, women in the United States still face challenges their male counterparts don’t. From discrimination to slimmer paychecks and disproportionate share of household tasks, it isn’t easy being a woman in America.

After identifying the worst states for women, we decided to drill down and identify the worst (and best) cities to be a woman in Iowa.

The results? Location makes a big difference.

Read on to see where your city landed and how we determined the worst cities in Iowa to be a woman.

These are the 10 worst cities for women in Iowa. Keep reading to see why these cities serve women so poorly, or jump to the end to see the best cities for women in Iowa.

Methodology – How We Determined The Worst Cities For Women In Iowa

Each city was ranked in four categories:

  • Percentage Of Women In Management (Lower is worse)
  • Percentage Of Women In Poverty (Higher is worse)
  • How much women earn per male dollar earned (Lower is worse)
  • Uninsured Women (Lower is worse)

To calculate the income gap between women and men by city we turned to the Census’ American Community Survey. To get the difference in for all male earners and all female earners, we simply divided median male income by median female income to determine how much women earned per male dollar earned.

For the percentage of women in poverty, we also used data from the ACS. Poverty rate is based on household income, which includes husbands and other family members. To focus our data solely on women, we elected to look at women living with no relatives. People meeting this criteria (both male and female) tend to be younger and earn less. Consequently, this poverty rating will be higher than typical and does not include married women.

We decided to examine the percentage of women in management from the ACS to get perspective on the amount of women in leadership roles. Since women are more likely to promote other women, we thought it was an important look at not only women’s personal achievements, but the opportunity for advancement available.

Finally, we turned to the ACS once again for the percent of uninsured women in each city.

We only looked at cities in Iowa with a population larger than 5,000.

1. Charles City

Charles City, IA

How Much Women Make For Male Dollars Earned: $0.55
Women In Management: 31.7%
Women In Poverty: 31.2%
Women Uninsured: 5.5%

Charles City is the worst city for women in Iowa. What earned Charles City this unfavorable rank? Low scores across the board. Charles City women have an unpleasantly high chance of living in poverty and being uninsured. Throw in the other stats and it’s easy to see Charles City women are struggling.

2. Keokuk

Keokuk, IA

How Much Women Make For Male Dollars Earned: $0.53
Women In Management: 31.8%
Women In Poverty: 25.9%
Women Uninsured: 4.2%

Keokuk is the 2nd worst state for women. Keokuk women have high poverty and generally dismal stats.

3. Maquoketa

Maquoketa, IA

Source: Public domain

How Much Women Make For Male Dollars Earned: $0.56
Women In Management: 36.8%
Women In Poverty: 25.2%
Women Uninsured: 6.2%

Everything isn’t great for women in Maquoketa. Only 36.8 percent of women work in management and 25.2% live in poverty. That’s not so great

4. Oskaloosa

Oskaloosa, IA

Source: Public domain

How Much Women Make For Male Dollars Earned: $0.61
Women In Management: 23.7%
Women In Poverty: 22.2%
Women Uninsured: 4.1%

Oskaloosa is the fourth worst city to be a woman. 4.1% of women don’t have health insurance and 22.2% of solo women live in poverty.

5. Clear Lake

Clear Lake, IA

How Much Women Make For Male Dollars Earned: $0.52
Women In Management: 19.2%
Women In Poverty: 12.3%
Women Uninsured: 5.6%

Clear Lake is the fifth worst city for women. While women in Clear Lake have better opportunities than the first 4, it’s still not all rainbows and sunshine for women in Clear Lake.

6. Glenwood

Glenwood, IA

Source: Public domain

How Much Women Make For Male Dollars Earned: $0.54
Women In Management: 35.8%
Women In Poverty: 17.9%
Women Uninsured: 5.4%

At #6, Glenwood has 35.8. Glenwood women have a high chance of living in poverty. Yikes.

7. Centerville

Centerville, IA

How Much Women Make For Male Dollars Earned: $0.46
Women In Management: 39.0%
Women In Poverty: 21.0%
Women Uninsured: 4.6%

Centerville is a hard place to be a woman. High poverty, unfortunate earning distribution, and dismal uninsurance rates can make getting ahead an uphill battle.

8. Grinnell

Grinnell, IA

How Much Women Make For Male Dollars Earned: $0.43
Women In Management: 46.0%
Women In Poverty: 16.8%
Women Uninsured: 7.3%

Grinnell isn’t so great for lone women. They have a 16.8% chance of living in poverty and earn $0.43 for every male dollar earned. See the connection?

9. Fairfield

Fairfield, IA

How Much Women Make For Male Dollars Earned: $0.48
Women In Management: 35.3%
Women In Poverty: 15.0%
Women Uninsured: 4.1%

Why is it so hard to be a Fairfield woman? Well, making $0.48 for every dollar a male definitely doesn’t help. Toss in the fact that 4.1% are uninsured, while 15.0% of single women live in poverty and it paints a pretty unfortunate picture.

10. Cedar Falls

Cedar Falls, IA

How Much Women Make For Male Dollars Earned: $0.48
Women In Management: 38.2%
Women In Poverty: 21.7%
Women Uninsured: 2.7%

In 10th place we have Cedar Falls. While women in Cedar Falls fare better than the first 9 cities, they still face steep challenges. Just ask the 21.7% who live in poverty.

Summary On Worst Cities to Be A Woman In Iowa

These are the cities where Iowa women have the roughest time. While women face many obstacles statewide, these cities offer worst prospects than most.

For example, while very few cities in this overall study had women making the same or more than the median male income, the difference between first and last place is significant.

Overall, while we cannot say that Charles City is the worst city for every individual woman (life is pretty personal, after all), however, women who live there may have to overcome unique challenges.

Check out the rest of the list below.

Detailed List Of The Worst Cities For Women In Iowa

Rank Place Pay Gap
1 Charles City $0.55
2 Keokuk $0.53
3 Maquoketa $0.56
4 Oskaloosa $0.61
5 Clear Lake $0.52
6 Glenwood $0.54
7 Centerville $0.46
8 Grinnell $0.43
9 Fairfield $0.48
10 Cedar Falls $0.48
11 Burlington $0.59
12 Storm Lake $0.66
13 Mason City $0.70
14 Grimes $0.61
15 Ottumwa $0.68
16 Oelwein $0.59
17 Sioux Center $0.46
18 Fort Dodge $0.68
19 Le Mars $0.66
20 Marshalltown $0.66
21 Davenport $0.69
22 Estherville $0.75
23 Muscatine $0.63
24 Orange City $0.40
25 Decorah $0.39
26 Dubuque $0.65
27 Clinton $0.53
28 Fort Madison $0.65
29 Webster City $0.74
30 Waverly $0.53
31 Winterset $0.50
32 Creston $0.77
33 Bettendorf $0.54
34 Marion $0.65
35 Des Moines $0.75
36 Ames $0.81
37 Sioux City $0.71
38 Waterloo $0.77
39 Iowa City $0.82
40 Atlantic $0.81
41 Pella $0.45
42 Boone $0.66
43 Denison $0.91
44 Coralville $0.85
45 Council Bluffs $0.75
46 Red Oak $0.67
47 Washington $0.60
48 Spencer $0.61
49 Nevada $0.70
50 Perry $0.82
51 Indianola $0.59
52 Algona $0.77
53 Clive $0.61
54 North Liberty $0.70
55 Ankeny City $0.68
56 Cedar Rapids $0.72
57 Knoxville $0.63
58 Carroll $0.75
59 West Des Moines $0.70
60 Newton $0.67
61 Asbury $0.52
62 Waukee $0.72
63 Norwalk $0.81
64 Urbandale $0.71
65 Eldridge $0.62
66 Altoona $0.78
67 Johnston $0.76
68 Independence $0.73
69 Mount Pleasant $0.77
70 Bondurant $0.71
71 Pleasant Hill $0.73
72 Hiawatha $0.88
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