We scanned the stats to compile a list of locales where it’s great to be a girl. Did your hometown make the cut?
Where Women Rule
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What are the attributes that make a city female-friendly? Ample outdoor spaces, well-paying jobs, healthy food, single guys, a great cupcake shop or three, a non-creepy sex toy store (to name a few). We poured over lists and statistics and crunched the data—then compiled this quick list of U.S. cities with enough key features to appeal to the XX chromosome crowd, whether in search of a soulmate or happily single.
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Why it's great for women: Yes, climbing all those hills practically guarantees a killer butt, but San Francisco also rated No. 2 on the American Human Development Index, a scale that measures information on women's educational attainment, life expectancy, and median earnings (meaning female inhabitants are well educated, live long, and make money).
San Francisco also rated 10th in a Gallup-Healthways poll of fittest cities, has the second lowest obesity rate in the country, and boasts one of the easiest urban areas to escape to when you tire of the trolleys: Mount Tamalpais State Park, which has 6,300 acres of wild grasslands, chaparral, redwoods, and wildflowers only 20 miles north of the city.
How's the dating scene? In 2004 the research firm Teasley published findings that ranked San Francisco as the best place to find a rich, single man in the United States, as measured by the city's single male "Golden Ratio" of 140 percent, and specifically accounting for the large percentage of gay males (which is considerably less than people tend to believe at about 15 percent). Oh, and one more thing: San Fran has the highest number of cupcake shops per capita in the U.S.
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Why it's great for women: Known as a little slice of hippie/hipster heaven, Portland has a lot going for it—beyond food trucks and tattoos. It's widely recognized as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the United States (which of course saves money on gas, burns calories, and helps the environment).
There are 38.6 gyms and fitness centers per million people in the area, but if you want to take your workout outdoors, this is a good place to be: Encased in rain forest with a famously outdoorsy culture, Portland is an urban hiker's paradise.
On a more somber note, its female citizens are also least likely to die of breast cancer.
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Why it's great for women: This laid back So-Cal city has LA's sunny, temperate climate but not nearly the traffic congestion—it has the shortest average commute time of the 10 largest U.S. cities (about 25 minutes on average). What to do with all that extra time? Meet a dude—it's been ranked as the third best city for dating.
Not single? You and your guy can happily reduce both of your risks for all major diseases by indulging in a seriously healthy diet: San Diego residents eat an average of about 34 servings of fruit and vegetables a week.
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Why it's great for women: It's ranked third on the AHDI—that measure that calculates education, life expectancy, and median earnings for women. Boston also has a terrific public transportation system, but if you own a car, you can get from downtown Boston to Middlesex Fells Reservation, a 2,500-acre swath of hills, ponds, meadows, wetlands, and hemlock groves, in a mere 16 minutes.
While there are no actual statistics to back it up, Boston is as good a place as any to meet a Harvard grad—or a janitor with a genius level IQ.
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Why it's great for women: Of all the major U.S. cities, Washington D.C. has the smallest gender pay gap; women earn 91 percent of what men do annually. And women can spend that extra cash at one of the city's many farmer's markets—it boasts the highest number of farmers' markets per capita. Plus, D.C. is awash in time-saving conveniences, like professional organizers, certified personal trainers, and restaurants with takeout.
If you live there you will also be very fit; women in D.C. are more likely to exercise consistently—possibly in one of the city's myriad parks, including the 800-acre Great Falls Park and 1700-plus acre Rock Creek Park.
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Why it's great for women: As a state, Colorado has some of the lowest levels of obesity and fittest residents, and Denver specifically has all sorts of healthy things going for it—outdoor activities, a reasonably low cost of living, and the shortest doctor's office wait times in the country. Plus, a favorable male-to-female ratio means your chances of meeting an outdoorsy guy with a Labrador retriever are pretty good.
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Why it's great for women: Coffeshops, rain, Microsoft, the birthplace of grunge. While these may be what this northwestern city is most famous for, it has a lot more that appeals to women. Like San Francisco and Washington D.C., Seattle ranks high on the AHDI scale (sixth in the country) and is considered one of the healthiest and most active cities in the U.S. It's also a great place to meet guys, consistently ranking in the top 10 as one of the best cities for dating.
A few other impressive attributes: Extensive public transit, one of the country's most on-time airports, more Wi-Fi hotspots and more coffee shops (no shocker there) than any other U.S. city, and impressively short waits for a doctor's appointment—as well as the third branch of Babeland. Also cool: The city's state-of-the-art signal-optimization program, which synchronizes hundreds of traffic lights, allowing smoother travel through the city.
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Why it's great for women: Surprisingly, car-centric Los Angeles has the highest concentration of hiking and running trails in and around the city, according to a study conducted by Healthiest Habitats. But the real reason it's a good city for women? The number of personal care businesses. If you've got the will (and the time and cash), there are more than 3,700 business catering to nearly every aspect of your personal grooming needs.
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Why it's great for women: This big bustling city may not be healthy for your pocketbook (rents are among the highest in the country), but the vast number of businesses catering to women's beauty needs is practically three times as many as image-conscious LA; according to a census report from 2002, there are nearly 10,000 business that specialize in personal grooming.
New York is also a walking city, and despite the overwhelming availability of junk food—pizza slice spots on every corner—it's also the place to be if you're a healthy food fanatic: New Yorkers eat an average of 35 servings of fruits and vegetables a week.
Finally, The Big Apple is home to two branches of the female-friendly Babeland, a cheery, welcoming spot to buy every sex toy under the sun.
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Why it's great for women: Very walkable and notably uncongested, Philly is also the largest East Coast city to offer weekly single-stream recycling, with a pilot program called Recycling Rewards that offers points redeemable at local and national businesses. There are also loads of bike paths, amazing museums like the recently opened Barnes collection, affordable rents, and tons of bars and restaurants.
Another reason it's a good place for gals? The Velvet Lily, a (classy) sex toy emporium that recently won a Best in Philly Award and offers a wide range of eco-friendly products, as well as workshops and classes.