Women running their own businesses are making the most in Denver and Alaska. 

Median earnings for women entrepreneurs vary widely across the U.S., according to a new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by Volusion, an e-commerce store service. Entrepreneurs make up 7.7% of the total female workforce in the United States, earning a median annual income of $40,000. 

The best large metro areas for women entrepreneurs’ earnings were Denver; Birmingham, Ala.; Louisville, Ky.; Memphis, Tenn. and Raleigh, N.C. Self-employed women in those areas had median incomes above $50,000. 

At the state level, Alaska led with an adjusted median income of $61,782. Next up was Rhode Island at $53,245, followed by Colorado, Wyoming and Maine, to round out the states above $45,000. 

Nationally, women entrepreneurs earn a median income of $40,000, compared to $43,000 among all full-time female workers, Volusion found. Women earn less overall than men across employment sectors, whether they’re working for nonprofits, the federal government or private companies. The gap is widest, however, among the self-employed: Women earn $15,000 less than male entrepreneurs, according to the data. 

“While extremely successful entrepreneurs often make headlines, the reality is that most entrepreneurs operate small businesses and many new business owners take a pay cut during the first few years as their business gets off the ground,” said Tracy Turner, content manager at Volusion. “So while entrepreneurs may have a higher ceiling on their earning potential, the median income is lower than traditional employment.”

Women-owned small businesses also bring in less revenue than ones owned by men, with a $25,000 gap in the first year of operation widening to more than $35,000 by year four, according to a 2019 JP Morgan Chase report.

The Volusion analysis compared median income for women entrepreneurs across cities and states and adjusted for varied costs of living, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample. Female entrepreneurs were defined as women who were self-employed, full-time workers in their own business.

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