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Houston, Austin, Raleigh, Denver Tops in U.S. for STEM Workers

Xconomy National — 

All metro areas are not created equal. If you’re looking at job markets in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)—a major indicator of economic growth and innovation—the U.S. is a study in contrasts.

That’s according to a survey by WalletHub, a financial information site based in Washington, DC. The analysis looked at metrics such as job openings per capita for STEM graduates, percentage of workers in STEM jobs, annual median wage and wage growth for those jobs, the projected number of jobs needed in 2018, high-school rankings, and housing affordability.

The rankings have some surprises, in part because they try to take into account the cost of living and other lifestyle factors in each geography.

In the graphic below, the 100 most populated metro areas are ranked from top (blue, small circles) to bottom (orange, big circles) in terms of favorability to STEM workers. The size of the circles helps indicate the rank but does not signify anything else. You can mouse over them to see each city and its rank.

A few things jump out from the map. California and Texas, not surprisingly, have extremes—think Silicon Valley vs. Riverside, or Austin vs. El Paso. Florida has a lot of people but not a lot of STEM jobs. (Miami ranked dead last overall in the survey.)

The Northeast is a mixed bag—interestingly, Baltimore ranked 13th while New Haven, CT, was 87th. Meanwhile, there are small pockets of high-ranking towns in the middle of the country—Omaha, NE (#5), Oklahoma City (#7), Salt Lake City (#8), Columbus, OH (#9), and Cincinnati (#10). Innovation jobs, it seems, are popping up wherever they can.

Here’s where Xconomy’s coverage areas rank in the top 100 metros:

1. Houston, TX
2. Austin, TX
3. Raleigh, NC
4. Denver, CO
6. Seattle, WA
21. Madison, WI
23. Dallas, TX
26. Detroit, MI
35. Boston, MA
38. San Francisco
45. Milwaukee, WI
48. San Antonio, TX
49. San Jose, CA
51. San Diego, CA
66. Providence, RI
76. New York, NY

A few more notable metrics that went into the rankings:

—Houston had the highest annual median wage for STEM workers, adjusted for cost of living.

—New York had the highest annual median wage growth for STEM workers.

—Raleigh had the highest STEM employment growth.

—The San Jose area had the highest percentage of all workers in STEM jobs.