2016’s Best & Worst Metro Areas For STEM Professionals by Richie Bernardo, WalletHub
STEM workers are in fierce demand and not just in the global epicenter of high tech known as Silicon Valley. According to estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — professions will expand 1.7 times faster than non-STEM occupations between 2010 and 2020. That should be welcome news to job seekers with skills in these areas, half of which do not even require a four-year college degree.
Given their growing demand, STEM careers today comprise some of the most lucrative employment, paying higher salaries and boasting far fewer threats of unemployment compared with non-STEM jobs. In fact, the annual average wage for all STEM positions collectively was $85,570 —81 percent more than the national average of $47,230 for all jobs — according to the most recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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To identify the best markets for STEM professionals, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs, across 16 key metrics. Our data set ranges from per-capita job openings for STEM graduates to annual median wage growth for STEM jobs to the projected demand for STEM workers in 2020. Scroll down for our findings, additional expert commentary and our detailed methodology.
Best & Worst Metro Areas For STEM Professionals
On the heels of our earlier report on the Best & Worst Cities to Find a Job, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 100 most populated metropolitan statistical areas across 16 key metrics to help STEM professionals find the best markets for their valuable occupations. Our data set ranges from per-capita job openings for STEM graduates to annual median wage growth for STEM workers.
Comparing the Best & Worst Metro Areas For STEM Professionals
- The per-capita job openings for STEM graduates is highest in Austin, Texas, which is 76 times greater than in Deltona, Fla., the metro area with the lowest.
- The percentage of all workers in STEM occupations is highest in San Jose, Calif., which is five times greater than in McAllen, Texas, the metro area with the lowest.
- The projected number of STEM jobs needed in 2020 per capita is highest in Washington, which is 14 times greater than in Las Vegas, the metro area with the lowest.
- The unemployment rate for people with at least a bachelor’s degree is highest in Riverside, Calif., which is three times greater than in Des Moines, Iowa, the metro area with the lowest.
- The cost of living-adjusted annual median wage for STEM workers is highest in Houston, which is two times greater than in Honolulu, the metro area with the lowest.
- The housing affordability for STEM professionals is highest in Winston-Salem, N.C., which is two times greater than in Honolulu, the metro area with the lowest.