What are the best and worst states for STEM graduates?
August 27, 2019 | 12:27 pm CDT

The number of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs in the U.S. grew 17 percent from 2008 to 2018, and many students are interested in entering that growing job market and claiming a good salary.

Groupon Coupons recognized where the country’s tech hubs are, but wanted to know where are the places that offer the easiest transition from STEM student to STEM professional. So Groupon analyzed more than 10 years of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Georgetown University.

Their rankings looked at three factors: competition (the growth of that state's STEM job market compared to the growth of STEM degrees being issued there), barrier to entry (what percentage of each state’s STEM jobs require only a bachelor’s degree), and affordability (each state’s public tuition and cost of living).

The results provide a look into which states provide the best environment for a newly-minted grad to hit the ground running.

On the strength of the lowest barrier to entry in the country (55 percent of STEM jobs in the state need just a bachelor’s degree) and the lowest cost of living, Wyoming takes the top spot as best state for STEM majors.

Arkansas came in second overall, likely buoyed by the presence of Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, and the many tech jobs that come with it, while the growth of Atlanta’s fintech scene has been the radar for years and helped push Georgia up to number four overall.

Kansas (third) and North Dakota (fifth) round out the top five by leveraging low barriers of entry and costs of living, along with active agricultural and geological sectors that have become reliant on STEM.

Wyoming (first), Montana (sixth), Utah (seventh), Colorado (11th), and Idaho (15th) all rank highly. Like Kansas and North Dakota, the area’s strong agribusiness, mining, and geoscience sectors all of provide a wealth of opportunities in STEM.

Pennsylvania (45th) has a middling barrier to entry, but a high cost of living and stiff STEM job competition, while California ranked 28 overall. Competition is surprisingly low in California: there are way more STEM jobs opening in California than there are STEM degrees being conferred there. Problem is, a lot of those jobs require advanced degrees and California’s cost of living is quite high.

(It should be pointed out that most of the top-ranked states are relatively small in population and have fewer numbers of jobs available in raw numbers.)

See https://www.groupon.com/coupons/content/best-states-for-stem-majors


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About the author
Karl Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at [email protected]