From freelancers to consultants, more than 6 million women across the country are self-employed, and that number continues to rise.

In fact, half a million more women are self-employed today than before the pandemic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

With increased flexibility and the ability to be your own boss, self-employment offers an appealing alternative for women looking to create their own work environment and run a business.

But which cities are home to the most self-employed women?

We analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data in 170 of the most populated cities across the country in order to determine which cities have the highest percentage of self-employed women.

Key findings

  • Nationwide, 6.2 million women are self-employed, representing about 8.2% of all women in the workforce. The median income for self-employed women working in incorporated businesses is $45,296.
  • Cities within the Miami metropolitan area dominate the list of cities, with Miami (No. 1), Pembroke Pines (No. 3), Hialeah (No. 4) and Hollywood, Florida (No. 6) all ranking within the top 10.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio, is home to the fewest self-employed women, with only 3.8% of women being self-employed.
  • Nationwide, the number of self-employed women has increased by 556,818 since 2019 (pre-pandemic).

Which cities have the most self-employed women?

Self Employed Women Map 1536x927

Nowhere else in the country is self-employment more common for women than in the Miami metropolitan area. According to the Census Bureau, 16.1% of working women living in Miami are self-employed.

Not only is Miami ranked No. 1 in the nation for self-employed women, but it’s also becoming more common for women in Miami to be self-employed. Overall, the number of self-employed women has increased from 14.5% during the pre-pandemic era to 16.1% today.

In nearby Hialeah, 15.1% of women are self-employed, while 14.2% of women in Hollywood, Florida, are self-employed.

Overall, Florida is a hotspot for self-employed women, with Fort Lauderdale ranked second on our list, along with St. Petersburg, Florida, ranked 15th and Orlando ranked 24th.

Elsewhere, several cities within California rank within the top 20, including Los Angeles (No. 7), Huntington Beach (No. 9), Chula Vista (No. 10), Glendale (No. 14), and Palmdale (No. 19).

Along with Chula Vista, two other cities within San Diego County made the top 25, including Escondido (No. 21) and the city of San Diego (No. 23).

Top five cities with the most self-employed women

#1. Miami, FL

  • Number of employed women: 106,443
  • Number of self-employed women (incorporated businesses): 5445
  • Number of self-employed women (unincorporated businesses): 11655
  • Median income for self-employed women: $32,924
  • Total number of self-employed women: 17,100
  • Percent of self-employed women: 16.1% 

#2. Fort Lauderdale, FL

  • Number of employed women: 41,750
  • Number of self-employed women (incorporated businesses): 3813
  • Number of self-employed women (unincorporated businesses): 2640 
  • Median income for self-employed women: $56,618
  • Total number of self-employed women: 6,453 
  • Percent of self-employed women: 15.5%

#3. Pembroke Pines, FL

  • Number of employed women: 40,668
  • Number of self-employed women (incorporated businesses): 2988
  • Number of self-employed women (unincorporated businesses): 3195
  • Median income for self-employed women: $31,767
  • Total number of self-employed women: 6,183
  • Percent of self-employed women: 15.2%

#4. Hialeah, FL

  • Number of employed women: 55,138
  • Number of self-employed women (incorporated businesses): 2371
  • Number of self-employed women (unincorporated businesses): 5967
  • Median income for self-employed women: $34,310
  • Total number of self-employed women: 8,338 
  • Percent of self-employed women: 15.1%  

#5. Scottsdale, AZ

  • Number of employed women: 61,205
  • Number of self-employed women (incorporated businesses): 3956
  • Number of self-employed women (unincorporated businesses): 5038
  • Median income for self-employed women: $96,965
  • Total number of self-employed women: 8,994
  • Percent of self-employed women: 14.7%

Where self-employment for women has increased the most

Nationwide, among those self-employed, 38.4% are women. And even though men outnumber women when it comes to self-employment, the number of self-employed women has increased significantly since the pandemic.

In fact, the number of self-employed women has increased by more than half a million (556,818) since 2019, according to the Census Bureau.

We took a closer look at which cities have seen the largest increase in self-employed women since 2019 and several cities with the most self-employed women have also experienced the largest growth in female self-employment.

For example, Pembroke Pines, Florida, ranks third on the list of cities with the most self-employed women and ranks first for cities with the largest growth in female self-employment.

Elsewhere, Pasadena, Texas, which is a suburb of Houston, ranks second followed by the Dallas suburb of Grand Prairie, Texas. The share of women who are self-employed in Pasadena has increased by 6.4 percentage points since 2019, while Grand Prairie has experienced a 5.6 percentage point increase in self-employed women.


It’s clear there is an increasing appeal of entrepreneurship for women in cities across the country. Self-employment provides opportunities for women to achieve financial independence, gain control over their work-life balance, and pursue their passions.


To determine our ranking, we analyzed the class of workers among women within the workforce who live in the most populated 170 cities via the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. We then calculated the percentage of all females within the workforce who are self-employed. Data for self-employed workers include both self-employed women working in incorporated businesses as well as unincorporated businesses. We also compared the median income for women working within both incorporated and unincorporated businesses in order to find the median income for self-employed women.


Sources: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 2022

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