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

Here’s How Reserve Currencies Have Evolved Over 120 Years

Today, the U.S. dollar makes up 60% of held reserve currency. See how global preferences have shifted since 1900.

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global reserve currencies 120 years

Here’s How Reserve Currencies Have Evolved Over 120 Years

Over the last 120 years, the popularity of different reserve currencies have ebbed and flowed, reflecting the shifting fortunes of leading global economies.

For example, in the year 1900, the U.S. dollar and pound sterling made up 0% and 62% of global reserves respectively. But fast forward to 2020, and the pound now represents just 4.7% of global currency reserves, while the U.S. dollar stands at nearly 60%.

Today’s motion graphic from James Eagle looks at the year-over-year change in currency reserves as a portion of total reserves, spread across 120 years.

Currency1900192019401960198020002020
U.S. Dollar0.0%28.4%27.9%61.7%57.9%71.2%59.0%
Euro0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%17.5%18.5%21.2%
Deutsche mark14.7%4.2%0.0%0.0%12.9%0.0%0.0%
Japanese yen0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%3.9%5.8%6.0%
Pound sterling62.0%57.3%68.9%35.1%2.4%2.7%4.7%
Chinese renminbi0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%2.3%
French franc17.5%6.2%2.1%1.3%1.0%0.0%0.0%
Canadian dollar0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%2.1%
Australian dollar0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%1.8%
Swiss franc0.0%0.0%0.8%0.3%2.2%0.3%0.2%
Dutch guilder0.0%3.9%0.3%0.1%0.9%0.0%0.0%
Other5.7%0.0%0.0%1.6%1.3%1.5%2.7%

What is a Reserve Currency?

A reserve currency is a large quantity of currency held in “reserve” by monetary authorities like central banks.

Currencies are often held in reserve in preparation for investments and transactions, among other things. Our vast global trade system, which is approaching $20 trillion in value, means plenty of currencies are always needed in reserve. In fact, an estimated $5 trillion in currency swaps hands every single day.

Here are some reasons that currency reserves are held:

  • Exchange rate stability for the domestic currency
  • To ensures liquidity in times of crisis
  • To diversify central bank portfolios, which can reduce risk and improve credit ratings
    • All things equal, countries benefit economically from greater demand for their respective currencies.

      The Rise and Fall of Reserve Currencies

      Some economists argue that the demand for currencies in the long run revolves around the economic relevance of a country. In general, the larger and more powerful a nation’s economy is, the greater the network effect, and the more interlinked they are to the global economy. Thus, the greater demand there is to hold their currency in reserve.

      The last 120 years of currency reserve data shows some support for this claim. For example, Japan’s economy hit a peak in terms of its relative share of global GDP in the early 1990s, just before the effects of the Lost Decade were felt. Subsequently, their peak as a reserve currency was around the same horizon, at 9.4% in 1990.

      America’s Era of Dominance

      Due to the economic strength of the United States in the post-WWII era, the dollar is what economists call a vehicle currency.

      This means many non-dollar economies still choose to engage in international transactions using the dollar. These smaller and less accepted currencies are often converted to U.S. dollars before proceeding with any business or trade dealings. This is why, although Asian economies tend to have neighboring states as their top trade partners, they still engage in a massive portion of these transactions with the U.S. greenback as the currency of choice.

      Here are some facts that further exemplify the strength and power of the U.S. dollar:

      • More than 65 countries peg their currencies to the U.S. dollar
      • Five U.S. territories and a number of sovereign countries, such as Ecuador and Panama, use it as an official currency of exchange
      • Around 90% of all Forex trading involves the U.S. dollar
        • Additionally, the dollar is often seen as a haven in times of extreme uncertainty and tumult. Given its status as the world’s reserve currency, it can be perceived as less risky and can withstand economic shock to a greater degree relative to other currencies.

          New Challengers to the Dollar

          In the not too distant past, the U.S. displaced the UK economically and as the world’s reserve currency. Today, the U.S. economy is showing signs of slowing down, based on GDP growth.

          China is on the rise, having already displaced the U.S. as the EU’s top trade partner. With projections for China to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest economy before 2030 in nominal terms, could a new global reserve currency emerge?

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Demographics

The World Population Pyramid (1950-2100)

The world is in the midst of a notable demographic transition. Here’s how the world population pyramid will change as we close in on the year 2100.

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The world is in the midst of a notable period of demographic transition.

Back in the 1960s, global population growth peaked at a 2.1% annual rate, but since then it has been on a historic downtrend.

In fact, according to the most commonly cited United Nations projection, which is based on a medium fertility rate scenario, it’s expected that annual population growth could drop all the way to 0.1% by the end of the 21st century.

Visualizing a Demographic Transition

Today’s powerful charts come from Our World in Data by economist Max Roser, and they show how global demographics will shift over the next 80 years.

Below you can see one major catalyst of this change, which is the peaking (and then falling) population growth rate:

Growth in world population from 1950 to 2100

Why has population growth been dropping since the 1960s?

A variety of explanations factor into this, including:

  • Falling fertility rates:
    Birth rates tend to fall as nations get richer. First, this happened in the developed world, but as the century progresses this phenomenon will impact more and more developing nations.
  • Government policy:
    China’s “One Child Policy” in particular had an effect on global population growth, and the aftermath of the policy is still contributing to a shrinking Chinese population over the long term.
  • Rural flight
    Urban dwellers tend to have fewer babies—and by 2050, there will be an additional 2.5 billion people living in cities globally.

Fewer births combined with improving healthcare—especially in developing nations—will dramatically alter the composition of the world population pyramid, creating both economic opportunities and challenges in the process.

The Changing World Population Pyramid

The following graphic charts how these changes affect the makeup of the world’s population.

World Population Pyramid transition

Over time, the shape of the world population pyramid is expected to shift from Stage 1 (high birth rates, high death rates) to something closer to Stage 4 (low birth rates, low death rates).

As the population distribution skews older, here is how population size and global median age will change:

YearGlobal Population SizeMedian Age
19502.6 billion23.6 years
20187.6 billion30.0 years
2050p9.7 billion36.1 years
2075p10.7 billion39.0 years
2100p11.2 billion41.6 years

Global median age is projected to surpass 40 years by the end of the century, and it will be considerably higher in many Western nations, especially in Japan and Europe.

With the future demographic composition looking very different than today, it will be fascinating to see how the economy responds to these potential tailwinds. Further, it will be even more interesting to see what role automation will play as the old-age dependency ratio hits historic highs.

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