Albany, where women put their college degrees to work... and don't sit in traffic

If you're a married woman with a college degree in the Capital Region, there's a good chance that you have a job outside the home. In fact, the chances are better here than pretty much any other place in the country.

A trio of researchers recently released a working paper (pdf) that looked at census data related to women and education for the top 50 metro areas (fine print). And according to this study, 80 percent of the women with a college degree in the Capital region were in the workforce. That ranked first among the 50 studied metro areas. The region ranked almost as high for women with a high school degree -- it was 5th.

A comparison with other cities over time -- and a little bit about why things shake out this way -- after the jump.

Here's how Albany compares over time with a few other cities for "labor market participation" rates among married women with high school degrees.

working women comparison

source: Black, Kolesnikova, Taylor

OK, but why the variation? The researchers say that traffic seems to be an imporant factor -- the worse the traffic, the fewer women who work outside the home. And while it's not necessarily a measure of traffic exactly, the Albany area has one of the shortest average commutes in the entire country at 19 minutes.


fine print: This study only looked at white non-hispanic women -- the researchers say the sample sizes weren't big enough to include other ethnic groups. Also the study doesn't include data from 1960 because the researchers couldn't get a hold of it.

(via Marginal Revolution)

Comments

"And at 80 percent, the Albany area had the highest percentage of women with a college degree in the workforce."

I haven't had a chance to dig through the report, but its unclear what this statement means. Is it saying:

A. Of all the women with a college degree in the Albany area, 80% of them are in the workforce.

or

B. Of all the people in the workforce 80% of them are women with a college degree.

I'm thinking its A because the percentage of people with a college degree in Schenectady, Saratoga, and Albany counties is below 20%.

I'm not sure why they would decide that a long commute would keep women at home. Perhaps it has more to do with the cost of living and pay scale in each area. Higher paying jobs or lower cost of living would allow one spouse to stay home.

If your going to talk about Albany's labor pool I find it far more logical to assume that any uniqueness probably has more to do with the civil service system and the region's largest employer than anything else.

and jon.. its obviously A., but B would be frickin awesome. Think about it. It be cause either:

A) The CD has four times as many ladies as dudes (I like those odds in the bar)

or

B) Most men in the CD don't have to work because they are supported by an elite class of highly educated gainfully employed women (sugarmamas!)

I considered a C) of huge droves of homeless men rambling about, but Townsend park just isn't big enough to support that.

@Jon: Yep, that's a bad sentence. What we were trying to say is that of the women with a college degree in the Capital Region, 80 percent of them are in the workforce. We've changed the sentence to clear things up. Thanks for pointing it out.

And that's a good point about the traffic. The researchers found correlations, but that doesn't necessarily mean causation. It would seem very possible that traffic is an indicator of some other factor that might actually be prompting the differences.

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