If you’ve graduated college with a solid background and degree in hand in one of the in-demand STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), there are some regions in America that are better than others to pursue your career. A new comparison of metropolitan areas across the country has ranked Greater Hartford as the 19th most desirable area in the country for college graduates who studied one of the STEM fields.
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford finished just ahead of San Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos, California. One slot above Hartford in the rankings was Columbus, Ohio. Boston and Hartford were the only northeast cities to make the top 20 list.
Of all the jobs in the Hartford-West-Hartford-East-Hartford metropolitan area — which covers Hartford, Tolland and Middlesex counties — 6.6 percent were in STEM fields. That fact alone accounted for 50 percent of the total score Nerd Wallet assigned to the metro area, Hartford Business Journal reported. It also accounted for the area's $81,932 median annual wage for STEM jobs and its median gross apartment rent of $948.
The website Nerd Wallet determined the best places for STEM graduates by analyzing the following factors in the 75 largest U.S. metropolitan areas:
- Income levels for STEM jobs: They looked at the annual mean wage for STEM occupations in each metro area, and factored in median gross rent as a cost of living metric to see how far the average income goes in each place.
- Size of STEM industries: They included STEM occupations as a percentage of all jobs in a city to measure the robustness of the STEM industries and gauge availability of STEM jobs.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage for a STEM job is $79,395 — nearly 71% higher than the national annual average wage across all occupations and industries. The top 10:
- San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara, California
- Seattle – Bellevue – Everett, Washington
- Washington, DC – Arlington, VA – Alexandria
- Houston – Sugar Land – Baytown
- San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City, California
- Austin – Round Rock – San Marcos, Texas
- Boston – Cambridge – Quincy, Massachusetts
- Raleigh – Cary, North Carolina
- Denver – Aurora – Broomfield, Colorado
- Dayton, Ohio
The analysis used U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data from May 2013 and rent data from the 2012 U.S. Census.
The region's focus on the STEM fields begins well before college graduation. One recent example: earlier this year, the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering was ranked 15th in the nation and first in Connecticut in U.S. News & World Report's latest "Best High Schools" edition. The Connecticut International Baccalaureate Academy in East Hartford ranked 31st nationally and second in the state.