The Number and Proportion of STEM Jobs by State

Published on Jun 20, 2012

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Emsi Burning Glass

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In our first STEM jobs post, we showed that the regions with the highest concentration of science, technology, engineering, and math-related employment — places like Washington, D.C., and Los Alamos, NM — are largely dependent on government funding. In this post, we take a step back and provide a more general STEM overview. Which states and metro areas have the greatest proportion of STEM jobs? How do the average hourly earnings in each state stack up with earnings in STEM jobs?

First, let’s start with a few basic facts. Using the STEM definition from Praxis Strategy Group and looking at EMSI’s latest dataset, the US had just over 6.8 million STEM jobs in 2011. STEM workers accounted for 5.2% of the total labor force, and their median wages are $34 per hour on average — nearly $15 more per hour than the median wage in the US.

The table below shows the number and proportion of STEM jobs by state. Washington, D.C. is the clear leader with more than 10% of its workforce classified as STEM. Virginia and Washington are tied for second at 8%, followed by Maryland (7.9%) and Massachusetts (7.7%).

The states with the smallest proportion of the STEM workers are Mississippi (2.8%), Nevada (2.9%), and Louisiana (3.1%). The South is home to six of the 10 states with the smallest proportion of STEM workers. These are states with less innovation, it can be argued.

Rank (by Proportion)State2011 STEM JobsProportion of All Jobs2011 STEM Hourly EarningsEarnings Difference (STEM vs. All Jobs)1District of Columbia (DC)72,14310.10%$42.84$9.302 (tie)Washington (WA)238,4178.00%$37.14$15.772 (tie)Virginia (VA)302,2198.00%$38.70$18.024Maryland (MD)202,1007.90%$38.44$15.965Massachusetts (MA)249,9007.70%$38.47$14.906Colorado (CO)167,3477.30%$37.09$16.647Delaware (DE)24,8476.10%$35.13$14.368 (tie)Michigan (MI)231,1486.00%$32.26$12.948 (tie)California (CA)895,4616.00%$38.85$17.068 (tie)Minnesota (MN)157,6816.00%$33.65$13.2111New Jersey (NJ)225,6295.90%$37.93$15.4612 (tie)New Hampshire (NH)35,0695.70%$33.56$13.8112 (tie)Alaska (AK)19,9025.70%$35.46$13.1814New Mexico (NM)45,9085.60%$33.21$15.8715 (tie)Utah (UT)66,0555.50%$29.88$12.2615 (tie)Connecticut (CT)88,9965.50%$35.57$12.8015 (tie)Idaho (ID)34,7255.50%$26.88$10.0418Texas (TX)579,2645.40%$34.35$16.1719Oregon (OR)87,5005.30%$31.16$12.0320Vermont (VT)15,9915.20%$30.08$11.4521Arizona (AZ)123,9945.00%$31.93$13.7522Pennsylvania (PA)273,0384.90%$31.89$13.0423Ohio (OH)242,9134.80%$31.52$13.2524 (tie)North Carolina (NC)184,9584.70%$32.10$14.6324 (tie)Kansas (KS)64,0694.70%$29.65$12.5126 (tie)New York (NY)392,2674.60%$33.93$11.5226 (tie)Illinois (IL)260,7304.60%$33.97$13.6228 (tie)Georgia (GA)171,7474.50%$32.68$14.3828 (tie)Missouri (MO)118,5444.50%$30.83$13.3928 (tie)Wisconsin (WI)120,7044.50%$29.30$11.0728 (tie)Rhode Island (RI)20,7504.50%$34.25$13.9832Montana (MT)19,4474.40%$23.63$7.9533Alabama (AL)79,7004.30%$32.26$15.3234Nebraska (NE)38,7684.10%$28.87$11.9435 (tie)Wyoming (WY)11,6204.00%$26.61$8.4735 (tie)South Carolina (SC)73,4644.00%$29.17$12.4935 (tie)Florida (FL)294,3724.00%$29.53$12.1138 (tie)Indiana (IN)106,4323.90%$28.52$11.2638 (tie)Iowa (IA)57,0663.90%$28.56$11.9040Maine (ME)22,3973.80%$28.67$11.2741Oklahoma (OK)57,1763.60%$28.30$12.3542 (tie)Kentucky (KY)60,9083.40%$27.58$10.9542 (tie)Hawaii (HI)22,1863.40%$31.22$12.4142 (tie)South Dakota (SD)13,8253.40%$23.71$8.6242 (tie)Arkansas (AR)40,0873.40%$26.34$10.7846North Dakota (ND)12,8933.30%$25.21$8.8847 (tie)Tennessee (TN)84,3003.20%$29.19$12.5247 (tie)West Virginia (WV)23,0213.20%$26.24$10.5049Louisiana (LA)59,8483.10%$29.30$12.7650Nevada (NV)32,5482.90%$30.87$12.7951Mississippi (MS)31,6582.80%$26.21$10.92Total6,855,7325.20%$34.07$14.94Source: EMSI Covered Employment - 2012.1

Also included in our table is the difference between earnings for STEM jobs and all jobs. Virginia ($18.02) and California ($17.06) have the biggest disparities, while Montana ($7.95) and Wyoming ($8.47) have the smallest differences. South Dakota and North Dakota have the next-smallest disparities, followed by the District of Columbia ($9.30). STEM jobs may be prevalent in D.C., but the pay for STEM workers there is comparatively more on par with the general workforce as compared to much of the nation. This reflects the lofty overall wages in D.C. rather than the fact STEM workers are making less in the District than in other places.

STEM-Oriented Metros

So we’ve looked at states, and our first post had a fair bit on the top counties for STEM workers. We’ll now move to metro areas with higher-than-average proportions of STEM employment. The top 25 metros are in the chart to the right, and below are more details on the top five.

No. 1: Los Alamos, NM

Thirty-five percent of the workforce — yes, 35% — in Los Alamos, the site a major national lab, falls under the STEM definition. It’s overwhelmingly the most STEM saturated metro, per capita, in the US.

No. 2: Lexington Park, MD

Coming in at a distant second, Lexington Park is located in Southern Maryland and situated near a major naval air station. Just over 18% of Lexington Park’s workforce is made up of STEM workers.

No. 3: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara

No shocker here. Almost 17% of the San Jose area workforce is designated as STEM-related. Home to nearly 150,000 STEM jobs, this metro has one of the largest disparities in the nation between STEM workers ($49.52 per hour) and all workers ($30.76 per hour). San Jose has easily the highest-paid STEM workforce in the US. Next are Washington, D.C. and Lexington Park, MD.

No. 4: Boulder, CO

Boulder is one of many metros on this list that are sites of major public universities. It’s also a fertile ground for tech startups and a destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Just over 15% of the workforce here is STEM-related.

No. 5: Huntsville, AL

Like San Jose, Huntsville has a glaring difference in the wages of STEM workers and the workforce in general. Huntsville is a hub for aerospace and military technology, and just under 15% of its workers fall under the STEM category.

If you’d like to see STEM data for your metro area, county, or larger region, email Josh Wright or contact us here. Find out more about EMSI here and reach us via Twitter @DesktopEcon.