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



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 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
3North Carolina$44.19$91,92080%
12New Hampshire$45.50$94,65067%
13South Carolina$37.06$77,08067%
21New Jersey$50.04$104,09063%
25West Virginia$35.29$73,41062%
35New Mexico$38.06$79,16059%
39South Dakota$33.65$70,00056%
40Rhode Island$44.43$92,41053%
42New York$49.65$103,28052%
48North Dakota$34.53$71,82037%
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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Mapped: The State of Economic Freedom in 2023

How free are people to control their own labor, property, and finances? This map reveals the state of economic freedom globally.



economic freedom

Mapped: The State of Economic Freedom in 2023

The concept of economic freedom serves as a vital framework for evaluating the extent to which individuals and businesses have the freedom to make economic decisions. In countries with low economic freedom, governments exert coercion and constraints on liberties, restricting choice for individuals and businesses, which can ultimately hinder prosperity.

The map above uses the annual Index of Economic Freedom from the Heritage Foundation to showcase the level of economic freedom in every country worldwide on a scale of 0-100, looking at factors like property rights, tax burdens, labor freedom, and so on.

The ranking categorizing scores of 80+ as free economies, 70-79.9 as mostly free, 60-69.9 as moderately free, 50-59.9 as mostly unfree, and 0-49.9 as repressed.

Measuring Economic Freedom

This ranking uses four broad categories with three key indicators each, both qualitative and quantitative, to measure economic freedom.

  1. Rule of law: property rights, judicial effectiveness, government integrity
  2. Size of government: tax burdens, fiscal health, government spending
  3. Regulatory efficiency: labor freedom, monetary freedom, business freedom
  4. Open markets: financial freedom, trade freedom, investment freedom

The 12 indicators are weighted equally and scored from 0-100. The overall score is then determined from the average of the 12 indicators.

Here’s a closer look at every country’s score:

RankCountry2023 Score
#1🇸🇬 Singapore83.9
#2🇨🇭 Switzerland83.8
#3🇮🇪 Ireland82.0
#4🇹🇼 Taiwan 80.7
#5🇳🇿 New Zealand78.9
#6🇪🇪 Estonia78.6
#7🇱🇺 Luxembourg78.4
#8🇳🇱 Netherlands78.0
#9🇩🇰 Denmark77.6
#10🇸🇪 Sweden77.5
#11🇫🇮 Finland77.1
#12🇳🇴 Norway76.9
#13🇦🇺 Australia74.8
#14🇩🇪 Germany73.7
#15🇰🇷 South Korea 73.7
#16🇨🇦 Canada73.7
#17🇱🇻 Latvia72.8
#18🇨🇾 Cyprus72.3
#19🇮🇸 Iceland72.2
#20🇱🇹 Lithuania72.2
#21🇨🇿 Czechia71.9
#22🇨🇱 Chile71.1
#23🇦🇹 Austria71.1
#24🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates70.9
#25🇺🇸 United States70.6
#26🇲🇺 Mauritius70.6
#27🇺🇾 Uruguay70.2
#28🇬🇧 United Kingdom69.9
#29🇧🇧 Barbados69.8
#30🇵🇹 Portugal69.5
#31🇯🇵 Japan69.3
#32🇧🇬 Bulgaria69.3
#33🇸🇰 Slovakia69.0
#34🇮🇱 Israel68.9
#35🇬🇪 Georgia68.7
#36🇶🇦 Qatar68.6
#37🇸🇮 Slovenia68.5
#38🇼🇸 Samoa68.3
#39🇯🇲 Jamaica68.1
#40🇵🇱 Poland67.7
#41🇲🇹 Malta67.5
#42🇲🇾 Malaysia67.3
#43🇧🇪 Belgium67.1
#44🇵🇪 Peru66.5
#45🇨🇷 Costa Rica66.5
#46🇭🇷 Croatia66.4
#47🇨🇻 Cabo Verde65.8
#48🇧🇳 Brunei Darussalam65.7
#49🇦🇱 Albania65.3
#50🇦🇲 Armenia65.1
#51🇪🇸 Spain65.0
#52🇧🇼 Botswana64.9
#53🇷🇴 Romania64.5
#54🇭🇺 Hungary64.1
#55🇵🇦 Panama63.8
#56🇲🇰 North Macedonia63.7
#57🇫🇷 France63.6
#58🇷🇸 Serbia63.5
#59🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines63.5
#60🇮🇩 Indonesia63.5
#61🇲🇽 Mexico63.2
#62🇨🇴 Colombia63.1
#63🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina62.9
#64🇬🇹 Guatemala62.7
#65🇩🇴 Dominican Republic62.6
#66🇧🇸 The Bahamas62.6
#67🇫🇲 Micronesia62.6
#68🇧🇭 Bahrain62.5
#69🇮🇹 Italy62.3
#70🇻🇺 Vanuatu62.1
#71🇰🇿 Kazakhstan62.1
#72🇻🇳 Vietnam61.8
#73🇲🇳 Mongolia61.7
#74🇸🇹 São Tomé and Príncipe61.5
#75🇦🇿 Azerbaijan61.4
#76🇵🇾 Paraguay61.0
#77🇲🇪 Montenegro60.9
#78🇽🇰 Kosovo60.7
#79🇱🇨 Saint Lucia60.7
#80🇹🇭 Thailand60.6
#81🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire60.4
#82🇹🇴 Tonga60.0
#83🇹🇿 Tanzania60.0
#84🇧🇯 Benin59.8
#85🇧🇿 Belize59.8
#86🇩🇲 Dominica59.7
#87🇸🇨 Seychelles59.5
#88🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago59.5
#89🇵🇭 Philippines59.3
#90🇧🇹 Bhutan59.0
#91🇲🇬 Madagascar58.9
#92🇰🇮 Kiribati58.8
#93🇯🇴 Jordan58.8
#94🇭🇳 Honduras58.7
#95🇴🇲 Oman58.5
#96🇲🇩 Moldova58.5
#97🇲🇦 Morocco58.4
#98🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia58.3
#99🇬🇭 Ghana58.0
#100🇫🇯 Fiji58.0
#101🇬🇲 The Gambia57.9
#102🇳🇦 Namibia57.7
#103🇸🇳 Senegal57.7
#104🇹🇷 Türkiye56.9
#105🇬🇾 Guyana56.9
#106🇬🇷 Greece56.9
#107🇸🇧 Solomon Islands56.9
#108🇰🇼 Kuwait56.7
#109🇺🇿 Uzbekistan56.5
#110🇰🇭 Cambodia56.5
#111🇧🇫 Burkina Faso56.2
#112🇬🇦 Gabon56.1
#113🇩🇯 Djibouti56.1
#114🇸🇻 El Salvador56.0
#115🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan55.8
#116🇿🇦 South Africa55.7
#117🇲🇷 Mauritania55.3
#118🇹🇬 Togo55.3
#119🇪🇨 Ecuador55.0
#120🇸🇿 Eswatini54.9
#121🇳🇮 Nicaragua54.9
#122🇲🇱 Mali54.5
#123🇧🇩 Bangladesh54.4
#124🇳🇬 Nigeria53.9
#125🇷🇺 Russia53.8
#126🇳🇪 Niger53.7
#127🇧🇷 Brazil53.5
#128🇰🇲 Comoros53.5
#129🇬🇳 Guinea53.2
#130🇦🇴 Angola53.0
#131🇮🇳 India52.9
#132🇹🇳 Tunisia52.9
#133🇲🇼 Malawi52.8
#134🇲🇿 Mozambique52.5
#135🇰🇪 Kenya52.5
#136🇱🇰 Sri Lanka52.2
#137🇷🇼 Rwanda52.2
#138🇹🇩 Chad52.0
#139🇨🇲 Cameroon51.9
#140🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea51.7
#141🇱🇸 Lesotho51.6
#142🇳🇵 Nepal51.4
#143🇺🇬 Uganda51.4
#144🇦🇷 Argentina51.0
#145🇧🇾 Belarus51.0
#146🇹🇯 Tajikistan50.6
#147🇱🇦 Laos50.3
#148🇸🇱 Sierra Leone50.2
#149🇭🇹 Haiti49.9
#150🇱🇷 Liberia49.6
#151🇪🇬 Egypt49.6
#152🇵🇰 Pakistan49.4
#153🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea48.3
#154🇨🇳 China48.3
#155🇪🇹 Ethiopia48.3
#156🇨🇬 Congo48.1
#157🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of the Congo47.9
#158🇿🇲 Zambia47.8
#159🇹🇱 Timor-Leste47.2
#160🇲🇻 Maldives46.6
#161🇹🇲 Turkmenistan46.5
#162🇲🇲 Myanmar46.5
#163🇸🇷 Suriname46.1
#164🇱🇧 Lebanon45.6
#165🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau44.6
#166🇨🇫 Central African Republic43.8
#167🇧🇴 Bolivia43.4
#168🇩🇿 Algeria43.2
#169🇮🇷 Iran42.2
#170🇧🇮 Burundi41.9
#171🇪🇷 Eritrea39.5
#172🇿🇼 Zimbabwe39.0
#173🇸🇩 Sudan32.8
#174🇻🇪 Venezuela25.8
#175🇨🇺 Cuba24.3
#176🇰🇵 North Korea2.9
-🇮🇶 IraqN/A
-🇱🇾 LibyaN/A
-🇱🇮 LiechtensteinN/A

Only four countries in the world have a score of 80 or above, Ireland, Singapore, Switzerland, and Taiwan, categorizing them as completely free economically.

Let’s now look at things from a more regional perspective.


map of economic freedom in europe in 2023

From a regional perspective, Europe ranks the strongest in economic freedom.

Despite being a powerhouse within Europe, Germany ranks 10th in the continent, with a score of 73.7. One of the categories Germany scored the weakest in was government spending (28.3/100). Over the last three years, government spending has averaged 49% of GDP.

Ireland ranks third globally, scoring particularly high in categories like property rights and judicial effectiveness. The country also has no minimum capital requirement—which is typically a banking regulation and corporate law issue determining how many assets an organization must hold—making it attractive for businesses to set up shop on the Emerald Isle.


map of economic freedom in Africa in 2023

Currently, Africa is the continent with the least economic freedom in the world, however, it is also the region with the highest potential for economic growth. A booming population, and thus, labor force, are promising for future innovation. In fact, it’s anticipated that Africa will see an increase of 2.5 billion people by the end of the century.

The lowest scoring country in Africa is Sudan, a country under further strain thanks to rife civil conflict. Historically, economic development has been constrained by rampant corruption and a lack of institutional capacity.

Conversely, Botswana registered the highest score on continental Africa (64.9), ranking higher than countries like France and Italy.

The Americas

map of economic freedom in the americas in 2023

In the Americas, the United States ranks 3rd regionally—25th overall—with a score of 70.6. The report attributes the categorization of U.S. as only “mostly free” to issues like inflation, increasing government debt, and unchecked deficit spending. Public debt currently sits at a figure equivalent to more than 128% of GDP.

In South America, Chile comes out on top, ranking above many other economic powerhouses like the U.S., the UK, and Japan. However, the 2021 election of a new Constitutional Assembly could risk the current economic state, as it favors a much more socialist approach to the economy.

East Asia and Oceania

map of economic freedom in asia and oceania in 2023

China’s score is among the lowest in East Asia & Oceania, ranking 154th in the world categorizing it as a repressed economy. The ruling Chinese Communist Party routinely exercises direct control over economic activity. China’s protectionist stance towards foreign investment and a plethora of trade tariffs imposed by other nations also factor in here.

In India, where public debt is equivalent to about 84% of GDP, fiscal health is the worst-scoring category. Additionally, much of the economy remains quite informal; a large share of people work in jobs without tax slips, recorded income, or formal contracts protecting them, which challenges labor freedoms.

The Middle East and Central Asia

map of economic freedom in the middle east and central asia in 2023

It may come as no surprise that the United Arab Emirates has the highest score in the Middle East. The UAE has implemented various measures and initiatives, such as tax exemptions, duty-free zones, streamlined business registration processes, and flexible regulatory frameworks to encourage entrepreneurship and foreign direct investment. As well, the top individual and corporate tax rates in the country are 0%.

Türkiye’s lowest scoring category relates to judiciary effectiveness and the rule of law. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has already been in power for two decades, recently won the country’s election, again cementing his authority over Turkish politics. This makes it unlikely that Türkiye’s economic freedom score will recover in the short to medium term.

Where Does This Data Come From?

Source: The Index of Economic Freedom from the Heritage Foundation

Data notes: A number of countries were not ranked due to unavailable data or other factors, like ongoing war, that made it difficult to properly assess the economy. These countries include: Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Liechtenstein, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.

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