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D.C. tops list of best cities for women

Thursday - 5/17/2012, 12:37pm  ET

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A woman walks up the steps to the United States Supreme Court. (Thinkstock)

Amy Hunter, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - It's good to be a woman in the nation's capital.

A new study on female well-being in the U.S. finds women in the District earn more, are better educated and live longer than women in any major city.

Women in San Francisco and Boston ranked second and third, respectively.

"We wanted to look at just women and see how women are comparing to one another," says Kristen Lewis, co-director of Measure of America, the organization that conducted the study. "Lots of studies compare women to men and men to men. But what's done less is compare women to each other."

The study, conducted over several months, compared census data on education and income as well as life expectancy. Combined, these factors make up the Human Development Index, which Lewis says is used across the world to measure the well-being of people in various countries and communities.

Measure of America has used the index to analyze a variety of geographic designations in America, including states, counties and congressional districts. But this is the first time the standard has been used to look at women.

"I can imagine other indicators you could judge, like how many single men are in certain cities," Lewis says. "But for us, it was well-being. It was what kind of capacities women have to live a really rewarding life."

Baltimore also ranked high coming in at No. 8.

The city that ranked lowest on the list was Riverside-San Bernardino in California. One in five women in that area did not complete high school, and the typical female worker earns about $22,300.

Women in D.C. seemed pleased with the findings, and most agreed.

"I'm an Episcopal priest. I'm a Harvard PhD. I'm very happy. I'm happy to be who I am here and be appreciated for who I am here," said one woman in Tenleytown. "I've lived other places. I certainly find here I have a kind of freedom to be myself. The freedom to be a housewife when I need to be a housewife, but really be myself other times."

"I think it's a great place for children and men and everybody."

WTOP's Kristi King contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)