Best Cities for Diversity in STEM – 2020 Edition

Best Cities for Diversity in STEM – 2020 Edition – SmartAsset

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Over the past 30 years, employment in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs has grown by almost 80%, according to a recent figure from Pew Research Center. However, there is still significant disparity in representation across gender lines and particularly racial ones: though Blacks and Hispanics combined accounted for more than a quarter (27%) of the 2016 U.S. workforce, Pew reports they totaled only 16% of the STEM workforce. Where people live, though, can be a factor in their access to companies that value a more heterogeneous group of employees. That’s why SmartAsset decided to find which cities are doing better than others when it comes to diversifying STEM workforces.

To find the best cities for diversity in STEM, we took a closer look at racial and gender breakdowns of workers in the 35 cities with the largest STEM workforces. For details on our data sources and how we put the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.

This is SmartAsset’s fifth study on the best cities for diversity in STEM. Read the 2019 version here.

Key Findings

  • New entrants to our list, including Oakland, California at No. 1. Some cities on this year’s list didn’t rank in the past, because their smaller STEM workforces meant the Census lacked sufficient demographic data. Oakland was not in the running in last year’s version of our study for that reason, but it takes first place this year, indicating a growing, diverse STEM workforce. Two other cities that were not in our rankings last year but do appear this year are Indianapolis, Indiana (at No. 11) and Colorado Springs, Colorado (at No. 35).
  • White men still comprise a majority of the STEM workforce. In all 35 of the cities in our study, men comprise more than 60% of the STEM workforce. In terms of race/ethnicity, there are just 10 cities in which white workers comprise less than 50% of the STEM workforce and only three cities in which white workers comprise 25% or less of the STEM workforce: Sunnyvale, San Jose and Fremont in California.

 1. Oakland, CA

Oakland, California takes the No. 1 spot in our study. Even though the STEM workforce is almost 63% male, the city ranks second-best on our gender diversity index for STEM workers, just after Washington, D.C. In terms of racial makeup, Oakland’s race/ethnicity index is seventh-highest in the study. Black workers make up a little more than 8% of the STEM workforce, Asian workers make up about 22% and Hispanic or Latino workers make up more than 10%. White workers make up more than 52% of STEM workers.

2. Boston, MA

Boston, Massachusetts has the third-best gender diversity index across all 35 cities: Almost 64% of STEM workers are men, and a little more than 36% are women. In terms of race/ethnicity, white workers make up about 59% of all STEM workers, Black workers make up close to 7%, Asian workers close to 18% and Hispanic workers about 13%.

3. Philadelphia, PA

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, STEM workers total 38,000, two-thirds of whom are male and one-third of whom are female. White workers make up about 57% (about 21,800), Black workers make up a little more than 15% (roughly 5,700), Asian workers make up almost 17% (about 6,400) and Hispanic or Latino workers make up almost 9% (roughly 3,400).

4. Washington, DC

In Washington, D.C. the total number of workers in STEM amounts to about 49,100. The roughly 18,600 women in these jobs make up almost 38% of this total, and the more than 30,400 men make up roughly 62%. Despite this disparity, Washington ranks the best for gender diversity in our study.

In terms of race, Hispanic or Latino workers comprise almost 10% of STEM workers, Asian workers comprise less than 5% and Black workers make up more than 24% (which is the highest percentage for this demographic in the study). The remaining roughly 57% of STEM workers are white.

5. New York, NY

New York, New York has the highest number of workers in STEM across all 35 cities, at almost 215,700. Almost 68,700 women (about 32%) comprise this total, while more than 147,000 men (68%) do.

New York City ranks second best on racial/ethnic diversity in our study. About 108,800 of STEM workers in New York City, or about 50%, are white. Almost 14% are Black, about 29,500. More than 22% are Asian, almost 48,400. Hispanic and Latino workers in the field total about 12%, at about 26,300.

6. Chicago, IL

There are about 95,100 STEM workers in Chicago, Illinois. Of this total, about 68% are men and about 32% are women. More than 57% of STEM workers in Chicago are white, about 11% are Black, almost 16% are Asian and close to 15% workers are Hispanic or Latino.

7. Houston, TX

The total number of STEM workers in Houston, Texas exceeds 79,500. Almost 70% of the total STEM workers there are men, and more than 30% are women. Houston has the third-best race/ethnicity index score in the study: More than 19% of STEM workers are Hispanic or Latino, almost 20% are Asian and more than 8% are Black.

8. Los Angeles, CA

There are almost 98,600 STEM workers in Los Angeles, California. More than 68,750 of them (about 70%) are men and about 29,800 (just 30%) are women.

Los Angeles has the fourth-best race/ethnicity index in the study. Almost 26% of all STEM workers are Asian, almost 19% are Hispanic or Latino and more than 4% are Black. About 48% are white (which is the lowest percentage for this demographic in the top 10).

9. Dallas, TX

Though almost 72% of STEM workers in Dallas, Texas are men, the city ranks best overall in terms of its race/ethnicity diversity score. Black workers comprise almost 18% of the STEM workforce, Asian workers comprise more than 16%, Hispanic or Latino workers almost 14% and white workers just shy of 50%.

10. Fort Worth, TX

Of the total approximately 25,700 STEM workers in Fort Worth, Texas, about 17,600 are men (just over 68%) and about 8,100 are women (roughly 32%). In terms of race, less than 5% of workers are Asian, about 12% are Black and about 22% are Hispanic or Latino. Almost 53% are white.

Data and Methodology

To find the best cities for diversity in STEM, SmartAsset analyzed data for the 35 cities in the county with the largest STEM workforces. Specifically, we measured across the following metrics:

  • Racial diversity index. We calculated this based on the racial diversity of a city among the main Census Bureau groups using the Shannon index. Cities with a more equally distributed workforce across the racial groups received a better score.
  • Gender diversity index. This measures the number of women in the workforce compared to men. The city with the highest percentage of women in STEM jobs received a score of 100, and the city with the lowest percentage received a 0.

We averaged these two indexes to create our final score, which we used to rank the cities.

Data for both metrics comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.

Tips for STEM Workers to Manage Their Money

  • Ask for a raise. There has been a rising trend of employers giving promotions without a pay raise, according to a recent survey of 300 employers by the staffing firm OfficeTeam. If you are accepting a promotion and taking on more responsibility, be sure you are asking to be compensated fairly. One of the best ways to do this is to see what other people in your occupation are making. The BLS publishes annual employment statistics that show the average hourly and annual wage by occupation.
  • Understand your paycheck. Seeking out cities that best accommodate a diverse workforce can be beneficial as you explore employment opportunities. But no matter where you live, you’ll have to pay taxes on each paycheck. See what your actual take-home pay will look like with SmartAsset’s free paycheck calculator.
  • Seek expert financial advice. As your company diversifies its workforce, make sure you diversify your portfolio. If you need some extra guidance with mapping out larger financial goals like retirement, estate planning and portfolio management, it might be worth consulting a professional financial advisor. Finding the right financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Questions about our study? Contact press@smartasset.com.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/poba

Nadia Ahmad, CEPF® Nadia Ahmad is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®) and a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW). Her interest in taxes and grammar makes writing about personal finance a perfect fit! Nadia has spent ten years working as a seasonal income tax assistant, researching federal, state and local tax code and assisting in preparing tax returns. Nadia has a degree in English and American Literature from New York University and has served as an instructor/facilitator for a variety of writing workshops in the NYC area.
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Best Places to Work in Manufacturing – 2020 Edition

Best Places to Work in Manufacturing – 2020 Edition – SmartAsset

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Manufacturing has a special place in the American story, but for the past few decades, this sector has been largely on the decline, impacting many workers and affecting decisions around things like budgeting and where they call home. Since 1997, more than 91,000 manufacturing plants have closed and almost 5 million manufacturing jobs have been lost, according to a 2020 study from the Economic Policy Center. Still, there are jobs to be had and careers to be built in the world of manufacturing in the U.S., provided you are looking in the right places. To that end, SmartAsset analyzed various data to find the best places to work in manufacturing in 2020.

To find the best places to work in manufacturing, we compared 378 metro areas across the following metrics: manufacturing as a percentage of the workforce, job and income growth between 2015 and 2018, job and income growth between 2017 and 2018, housing costs as a percentage of income and unemployment. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.

This is SmartAsset’s fifth study on the best places to work in manufacturing. Read the 2019 version here.

Key Findings

  • About one in 10 U.S. jobs is in manufacturing. Manufacturing represents 11.39% of jobs on average across all 378 metro areas we analyzed in our study. The metropolitan area where manufacturing makes up the highest percentage of jobs is Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana, where 57.45% of all jobs are in the manufacturing sector. The area where this rate is lowest is Laredo, Texas, where just 0.84% of the workforce is in manufacturing.
  • In recent years, manufacturing income has grown faster than jobs in the industry. From 2015 to 2018, the average number of manufacturing jobs has grown by just 3.66%, while the average income for manufacturing workers has grown by 6.44%.

1. St. Joseph, MO-KS

The St. Joseph metropolitan area, located in both Missouri and Kansas, has 24.74% of its workforce in manufacturing, the 18th-highest rate in this study. It’s also a place where jobs are fairly easy to come by: The unemployment rate in October 2020 was just 3.1%, 16th-lowest across all 378 areas we studied. St. Joseph scores lower in terms of income growth between 2015 and 2018 – though still within the top half of the study – coming in 145th for this metric, at 7.61%.

2. Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN

In the Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana metro area, home to Purdue University, around 25.23% of the workforce consists of manufacturing workers, the 16th-highest rate for this metric in the study. Income growth between 2017 and 2018 was especially high here, at 16.64%, seventh-highest of the 378 metro areas we analyzed. This seems to be a recent development, though, as income growth between 2015 and 2018 was not as robust at 8.73%, ranking in the top third of the study at 126th.

3. Hinesville, GA

Hinesville, Georgia saw manufacturing job growth of 27.50% between 2017 and 2018, the third-highest increase for this metric in the study. It also finished 38th in terms of job growth between 2015 and 2018, at a total of 14.50%. In this metro area, 17.81% of the workforce is in manufacturing, placing this coastal community 59th in the study for this metric, a top quartile finish.

4. Decatur, IL

Decatur, Illinois, in the central part of the Land of Lincoln, saw income for manufacturing jobs increase by 33.08% between 2015 and 2018, the fourth-highest increase in the study for this metric. The one-year increase in manufacturing job income between 2017 and 2018 was 12.88%, the 10th-highest bump in the study. Decatur is also a fairly affordable place to live, as housing costs represent just 10.81% of income on average, the fifth-lowest rate for this metric across all 378 metro areas in the study.

5. Spartanburg, SC

In Spartanburg, South Carolina, manufacturing jobs represent 25.05% of the entire workforce, the 17th-highest percentage for this metric overall. Spartanburg also ranks in the top 20 for both job-growth metrics: It comes in 15th for job growth between 2017 and 2018 (11.45%) and 18th for job growth between 2015 and 2018 (18.98%).

6. Fond du Lac, WI

In Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, 20.98% of the workforce holds jobs in manufacturing, the 30th-highest percentage we saw in the study for this metric. The unemployment rate in Fond du Lac for October 2020 was 3.7%, the 32nd-lowest rate on this list. The Fond du Lac metro area ranks toward the middle of the study in terms of housing costs as a percentage of income, placing 155th at 19.29%.

7. Columbus, IN

Manufacturing employees constitute 27.78% of the workforce in the Columbus, Indiana metro area, the 10th-highest rate for this metric in the study. From 2017 to 2018, the manufacturing job base grew just 1.67%, ranking 177th of 378 overall. The metro area also ranks toward the middle of the study in terms of housing costs as a percentage of income, ranking 160th with housing costs at 19.37% of income on average.

8. Rome, GA

Between 2017 and 2018, income for manufacturing workers actually went down 0.09% in the Rome, Georgia metro area, placing the locale in the bottom quarter of the study for this metric. However, the job market there is fairly strong right now: The unemployment rate in October 2020 was just 3.7%, 32nd-lowest overall. The Rome metro area is also a fairly robust town for manufacturing job opportunities, with 17.98% of jobs being in manufacturing, the 57th-highest rate we analyzed for this metric and a top-quartile result.

9. Appleton, WI

The workforce in the Appleton, Wisconsin metro area is 20.08% manufacturing employees, the 37th-highest rate of the 378 areas we studied. It also ranks strongly for long-term income growth, with pay for manufacturing jobs increasing 16.33% between 2015 and 2018, the 34th-largest leap we analyzed. Appleton’s job growth over the same time period is strong but not quite as robust, placing 102nd overall, at 8.63%.

10. Staunton-Waynesboro, VA

The final entry on this list is the Staunton-Waynesboro, Virginia metropolitan area. The metro area saw manufacturing jobs decrease by 0.32% between 2017 and 2018, ranking 256th overall for this metric. However, it performs well in terms of income growth between 2017 and 2018, for which it places 23rd of 378, at 9.97%. The Staunton metro area also ranks well for job growth between 2015 and 2018, with a 15.26% jump that places it 34th in the study for this metric.

Data and Methodology

To find the best places to work in manufacturing, we compared 378 metropolitan areas across the following metrics:

  • Manufacturing as a percentage of the workforce. This is the percentage of all workers employed by manufacturing firms. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2018 County Business Patterns Survey.
  • Three-year job growth. This is the percentage change in the number of people employed by manufacturing firms from 2015 to 2018. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2015 County Business Patterns Survey and Census Bureau’s 2018 County Business Patterns Survey.
  • One-year job growth. This is the percentage change in the number of people employed by manufacturing firms from 2017 to 2018. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2017 County Business Patterns Survey and Census Bureau’s 2018 County Business Patterns Survey.
  • Three-year income growth. This is the percentage change in manufacturing workers’ average incomes from 2015 to 2018. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2015 County Business Patterns Survey and Census Bureau’s 2018 County Business Patterns Survey.
  • One-year income growth. This is the percentage change in manufacturing workers’ average incomes from 2017 to 2018. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2017 County Business Patterns Survey and Census Bureau’s 2018 County Business Patterns Survey.
  • Housing costs as a percentage of average income for manufacturing workers. Data on median housing costs comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey. Data on the average income for manufacturing workers comes from the Census Bureau’s 2017 County Business Patterns Survey.
  • Unemployment rate. Numbers come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and are for October 2020. This rate incorporates all professions, not just manufacturing-specific ones.

First, we ranked each metro area in each metric. From there, we found the average ranking for each metro area, giving an equal weight to all metrics except for manufacturing as a percentage of the workforce, which we double-weighted. We then ranked the areas based on this average ranking. The metro area with the best average ranking received an index score of 100 and the metro area with the worst average ranking received an index score of 0.

Tips for Manufacturing a Solid Financial Strategy

  • Find an expert who will help you build a financial plan. Whether you work in manufacturing or some other industry, a financial advisor can help you make the most of your income and other money. Finding the right financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • To buy or to rent? If you’re moving to a new city to work in a manufacturing job, you’ll need to find a place to live. Use SmartAsset’s free calculator to see whether it makes sense to buy or rent.
  • Work hard; save hard. Chances are, you don’t want to be in the workforce at your manufacturing job for your entire life; eventually, you’d like to retire. If your company offers a workplace retirement plan like a 401(k), make sure to take advantage of it, as it is the easiest option for saving for retirement.

Questions about our study? Contact press@smartasset.com.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/shironosov

Ben Geier, CEPF® Ben Geier is an experienced financial writer currently serving as a retirement and investing expert at SmartAsset. His work has appeared on Fortune, Mic.com and CNNMoney. Ben is a graduate of Northwestern University and a part-time student at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®). When he isn’t helping people understand their finances, Ben likes watching hockey, listening to music and experimenting in the kitchen. Originally from Alexandria, VA, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife.
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