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Image courtesy WalletHub

2017’s Best & Worst Metro Areas for STEM Professionals

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.

To identify the best markets for STEM professionals, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 100 largest metro areas across 17 key metrics. Our data set ranges from “per-capita job openings for STEM graduates” to “annual median wage growth for STEM jobs” to “projected demand for STEM workers by 2020.” Continue reading below for our findings, expert commentary and a full description of our methodology.

With STEM jobs expected to grow 1.7 times faster than non-STEM professions in the coming years, the personal-finance website WalletHub followed up on its Best & Worst Cities to Find a Job report with an in-depth analysis of 2017’s Best & Worst Metro Areas for STEM Professionals.

To identify the best markets for STEM workers, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 100 most populated metro areas across 17 key metrics. The data set ranges from “per-capita job openings for STEM graduates” to “annual median wage growth for STEM workers.”

  Best Metro Areas for STEM Professionals Worst Metro Areas for STEM Professionals
  1 Seattle, WA 91 Birmingham, AL
  2 San Jose, CA 92 Lakeland, FL
  3 San Francisco, CA 93 Bridgeport, CT
  4 Boston, MA 94 North Port, FL
  5 Springfield, MA 95 Honolulu, HI
  6 Austin, TX 96 Cape Coral, FL
  7 Minneapolis, MN 97 Memphis, TN
  8 Atlanta, GA 98 Deltona, FL
  9 Washington, DC 99 McAllen, TX
  10 Pittsburgh, PA 100 Jackson, MS

Best vs. Worst

  • Atlanta has the most per-capita job openings for STEM graduates, 108, which is 54 times more than in Deltona, Fla., the metro area with the fewest at 2.
  • San Jose, Calif., has the highest percentage of all workers in STEM occupations, 22.2 percent, which is 13.1 times higher than in McAllen, Texas, the metro area with the lowest at 1.7 percent.
  • Washington has the highest projected number of STEM jobs per capita needed by 2020, 14.86 percent, which is 13.8 times higher than in Las Vegas, the metro area with the lowest at 1.08 percent.
  • Riverside, Calif., has the highest unemployment rate for residents with at least a bachelor’s degree, 6.1 percent, which is 3.2 times greater than in Des Moines, Iowa, the metro area with the lowest, 1.9 percent.
  • Houston has the highest annual median wage for STEM workers (adjusted by cost of living), $94,110, which is 2.3 times higher than in Honolulu, the metro area with the lowest at $40,223.
  • Dayton, Ohio, has the highest housing-affordability index for STEM professionals, 103.26, which is 2.1 times higher than in Honolulu, the metro area with the lowest at 48.25.

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