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The U.S. States with the Top Tech Salaries in 2021

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Average Tech Salary Across the US Best Paying States

The U.S. States with the Top Tech Salaries in 2021

In 2020, despite the economic turmoil caused by the global pandemic, America’s tech sector experienced rapid growth. Last year, the total number of U.S. tech jobs grew by 60,000.

Because of this demand, U.S. employers are willing to pay for the right talent—on average, tech workers in the U.S. earn about 61% more than the average salary. But some tech workers make more than others, depending on where they live.

This graphic by business.org uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to highlight the average annual tech salaries in each state, compared to the average salary of other occupations. We’ll also touch on the top-paying metro areas, and what type of tech jobs offer the highest compensation across the country.

Average U.S. Tech Salaries by State

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Washington and California have the highest average salaries, largely because of the high job density in those areas.

However, when it comes to the difference in tech salary versus average salary, Alabama takes the top spot—on average, tech jobs pay 85% more than other occupations in that state.

RankStateAverage hourly wage for tech workersAverage salary for tech workers% more that tech workers earn than all occupations
1Alabama$41.69$86,72085%
2Washington$58.96$122,64083%
3North Carolina$44.19$91,92080%
4Texas$45.04$93,69079%
5Virginia$51.50$107,13078%
6California$56.16$116,82078%
7Georgia$44.00$91,51076%
8Delaware$47.76$99,34075%
9Mississippi$34.48$71,72072%
10Ohio$41.48$86,27067%
11Idaho$37.65$78,32067%
12New Hampshire$45.50$94,65067%
13South Carolina$37.06$77,08067%
14Iowa$39.34$81,82066%
15Florida$39.81$82,81066%
16Maryland$50.55$105,15065%
17Colorado$48.33$100,52065%
18Arkansas$35.28$73,39064%
19Kentucky$36.21$75,33064%
20Missouri$39.44$82,04064%
21New Jersey$50.04$104,09063%
22Pennsylvania$42.29$87,97063%
23Arizona$41.84$87,03063%
24Oregon$44.25$92,04062%
25West Virginia$35.29$73,41062%
26Kansas$37.70$78,42061%
27Tennessee$36.86$76,66061%
28Utah$39.82$82,83061%
29Minnesota$45.47$94,57061%
30Indiana$37.66$78,34061%
31Nebraska$38.83$80,77061%
32Illinois$44.87$93,32061%
33Wisconsin$39.55$82,27061%
34Oklahoma$36.33$75,56060%
35New Mexico$38.06$79,16059%
36Louisiana$35.50$73,84059%
37Nevada$38.29$79,65058%
38Maine$38.48$80,03056%
39South Dakota$33.65$70,00056%
40Rhode Island$44.43$92,41053%
41Michigan$39.32$81,78053%
42New York$49.65$103,28052%
43Montana$34.40$71,54051%
44Massachusetts$50.67$105,40051%
45Vermont$38.55$80,18050%
46Connecticut$45.94$95,55046%
47Hawaii$40.32$83,87044%
48North Dakota$34.53$71,82037%
49Alaska$40.02$83,25035%
50Wyoming$32.52$67,64032%
51District of Columbia$54.78$113,93020%

Why are tech workers so generously compensated in Alabama? It could be because the area’s talent pool is not keeping up with demand.

In 2021, Huntsville, Alabama is expected to see 25,000 new jobs in aerospace, logistics, defense, and other tech-related industries. But these jobs could be difficult to fill given the area’s low unemployment rate.

On the other end of the spectrum, the District of Columbia has the smallest discrepancy between tech and other salaries. But at $95,330, the area has the highest average yearly salary for other occupations in the country—and tech workers still make 20% more.

Top 10 Metro Areas for Tech Salaries

Some of the highest-paying states are also home to the highest-paying metro areas.

For instance, when it comes to pay differences in tech, two of the top 10 metro areas are located in Washington state, while three are in California. The graphic below shows the metros with the highest difference between the area’s average salary and the average salary of tech jobs.

Top Tech Salaries

The highest pay difference between tech jobs vs the average salary is in San Jose, where tech workers make 507% more on average. This figure is almost certainly skewed because of the area’s high concentration of tech millionaires and top tier programmers.

Highest Paying Tech Jobs Nationally

Of course, location isn’t the only factor that plays into salary—the type of job is important, too. Here’s a look at U.S. tech salaries, organized by job type:

Highest Paying Tech Jobs US

In this analysis, which looked at jobs in computer science as well as mathematics, actuaries are the highest paid professionals on average.

While actuaries are more on the mathematical and financial side of the equation, more commonly associated jobs with tech are all over the list as well: software developers, computer network architects, information security analysts, data scientists, computer programmers, web developers, computer systems analysts, and so on.

The Future of Tech is Bright

America’s information technology sector, worth about $1.6 trillion, is expected to grow to $5 trillion by the end of 2021. And as this fast-growing industry continues to boom, jobs in this sector are likely to remain in high supply.

Augmented Reality (AR) in the U.S. is looking especially promising and is projected to grow by a CAGR of 100% between 2021-2025.

In short, tech is expected to keep growing. And salaries will likely follow suit.

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United States

Charted: U.S. Median House Prices vs. Income

We chart the ever-widening gap between median incomes and the median price of houses in America, using data from the Federal Reserve from 1984 to 2022.

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A cropped chart with the ever-widening gap between median house prices vs. income in America, using data from the Federal Reserve from 1984 to 2022.

Houses in America Now Cost Six Times the Median Income

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

As of 2023, an American household hoping to buy a median-priced home, needs to make at least $100,000 a year. In some cities, they need to make nearly 3–4x that amount.

The median household income in the country is currently well below that $100,000 threshold. To look at the trends between median incomes and median house prices through the years, we charted their movement using the following datasets data from the Federal Reserve:

Importantly this graphic does not make allowances for actual household disposable income, nor how monthly mortgage payments change depending on the interest rates at the time. Finally, both datasets are in current U.S. dollars, meaning they are not adjusted for inflation.

Timeline: Median House Prices vs. Income in America

In 1984, the median annual income for an American household stood at $22,420, and the median house sales price for the first quarter of the year came in at $78,200. The house sales price-to-income ratio stood at 3.49.

By pure arithmetic, this is the most affordable houses have been in the U.S. since the Federal Reserve began tracking this data, as seen in the table below.

A hidden caveat of course, was inflation: running rampant towards the end of the 70s and the start of the 80s. While it fell significantly in the next five years, in 1984 the 30-year fixed rate was close to 14%, meaning a significant chunk of household income went to interest payments.

DateMedian House
Sales Price
Median Household
Income
Price-to-Income Ratio
1984-01-01$78,200$22,4203.49
1985-01-01$82,800$23,6203.51
1986-01-01$88,000$24,9003.53
1987-01-01$97,900$26,0603.76
1988-01-01$110,000$27,2304.04
1989-01-01$118,000$28,9104.08
1990-01-01$123,900$29,9404.14
1991-01-01$120,000$30,1303.98
1992-01-01$119,500$30,6403.90
1993-01-01$125,000$31,2404.00
1994-01-01$130,000$32,2604.03
1995-01-01$130,000$34,0803.81
1996-01-01$137,000$35,4903.86
1997-01-01$145,000$37,0103.92
1998-01-01$152,200$38,8903.91
1999-01-01$157,400$40,7003.87
2000-01-01$165,300$41,9903.94
2001-01-01$169,800$42,2304.02
2002-01-01$188,700$42,4104.45
2003-01-01$186,000$43,3204.29
2004-01-01$212,700$44,3304.80
2005-01-01$232,500$46,3305.02
2006-01-01$247,700$48,2005.14
2007-01-01$257,400$50,2305.12
2008-01-01$233,900$50,3004.65
2009-01-01$208,400$49,7804.19
2010-01-01$222,900$49,2804.52
2011-01-01$226,900$50,0504.53
2012-01-01$238,400$51,0204.67
2013-01-01$258,400$53,5904.82
2014-01-01$275,200$53,6605.13
2015-01-01$289,200$56,5205.12
2016-01-01$299,800$59,0405.08
2017-01-01$313,100$61,1405.12
2018-01-01$331,800$63,1805.25
2019-01-01$313,000$68,7004.56
2020-01-01$329,000$68,0104.84
2021-01-01$369,800$70,7805.22
2022-01-01$433,100$74,5805.81

Note: The median house sale price listed in this table and in the chart is from the first quarter of each year. As a result the ratio can vary between quarters of each year.

The mid-2000s witnessed an explosive surge in home prices, eventually culminating in a housing bubble and subsequent crash—an influential factor in the 2008 recession. Subprime mortgages played a pivotal role in this scenario, as they were issued to buyers with poor credit and then bundled into seemingly more attractive securities for financial institutions. However, these loans eventually faltered as economic circumstances changed.

In response to the recession and to stimulate economic demand, the Federal Reserve reduced interest rates, consequently lowering mortgage rates.

While this measure aimed to make homeownership more accessible, it also contributed to a significant increase in housing prices in the following years. Additionally, a new generation entering the home-buying market heightened demand. Simultaneously, a scarcity of new construction and a surge in investors and corporations converting housing units into rental properties led to a shortage in supply, exerting upward pressure on prices.

As a result, median house prices are now nearly 6x the median household income in America.

How Does Unaffordable Housing Affect the U.S. Economy?

When housing costs exceed a significant portion of household income, families are forced to cut back on other essential expenditures, dampening consumer spending. Given how expanding housing supply helped drive U.S. economic growth in the 20th century, the current constraints in the country are especially ironic.

Unaffordable housing also stifles mobility, as individuals may be reluctant to relocate for better job opportunities due to housing constraints. On the flip side, many cities are seeing severe labor shortages as many lower-wage workers simply cannot afford to live in the city. Both phenomena affect market efficiency and productivity growth.

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