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50 best cities for STEM workers

50 best cities for STEM workers
1/Yurchanka Siarhei // Shutterstock

50 best cities for STEM workers

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM for short, form the backbone for the 21st century’s technical economy. Schools around the country are prioritizing STEM education as the United States completes its transition away from a manufacturing economy, which characterized the 19th and 20th centuries, and into a service economy.

The signs of the STEM revolution are all around us. Tech companies such as Apple and Amazon are among the most valuable in the world, college graduates are lured to STEM fields by the promise of growing paychecks insulated from the threat of automation, and start-ups seek to capitalize on the boom of venture capital funding to become the next major global player. The term “unicorn” refers to a privately held startup that’s worth over $1 billion; there are nearly 200 in the U.S. alone.

For students in STEM fields, or workers looking to change their career field, it’s important to know which of America’s metros are adapting to the challenges of the 21st century, with a focus on innovation, plenty of professional opportunities, and a commendable quality of life. To help those interested parties with their decision, Stacker used a Jan. 8, 2019 WalletHub study to rank the top 50 U.S. cities for STEM workers.

To determine which cities were best for STEM workers, WalletHub considered the 100 most populated metro areas in the U.S. across three key measurements (professional opportunities, STEM-friendliness, and quality of life), which were determined through 17 differently weighted metrics, such as the number of tech meet-ups per capita, quality of engineering universities, annual median wage for STEM workers, share of workforce in STEM, etc. We ranked our list by total score, with ties broken by the quality of life score. For the full list, see their in-depth methodology section.

Read on to find out which Midwestern cities are rivaling the coasts for technological growth, which universities feed into the STEM economy of significant cities, and learn which cities beat out the heart of Silicon Valley in our ranking.

You may also like: Oldest cities in America

#50. Harrisburg, PA
2/Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#50. Harrisburg, PA

- Total score: 48.43
- Quality of life rank: #18
- Professional opportunities rank: #19
- STEM-friendliness rank: #67

Though Harrisburg, Pa.’s capital, has some ground to make up in the STEM-friendliness ranking, its overall quality of life and availability of professional opportunities make it an exciting, growing metro. Top STEM employers include Penn State Hershey Medical Center, which funds significant medical research, and TE Connectivity, which manufactures sensors used in communication, transportation, and industry.

#49. Detroit, MI
3/RitcheyPro // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Detroit, MI

- Total score: 48.54
- Quality of life rank: #81
- Professional opportunities rank: #31
- STEM-friendliness rank: #33

Detroit was the largest city ever to file for bankruptcy back in 2014, due to decades of disinvestment from the “Big Three” auto companies, GM, Ford, and Chrysler, and widespread suburbanization. That’s one reason for the city’s low quality of life rank; luckily, like many cities across the Midwest, Detroit is modernizing for the current STEM age and encouraging new population growth. Big STEM employers include Detroit Medical Center, DTE Energy, and Compuware.

#48. Rochester, NY
4/Frances W Nuange // Shutterstock

#48. Rochester, NY

- Total score: 48.66
- Quality of life rank: #47
- Professional opportunities rank: #53
- STEM-friendliness rank: #42

The home of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), a well-regarded science and research university, Rochester is the third-largest city in New York state and places well on all three rankings evaluated by WalletHub. Significant tech companies birthed in Rochester include Kodak, Xerox, Bausch & Lomb, and Gleason.

#47. Nashville, TN
5/SenatorDF // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Nashville, TN

- Total score: 48.74
- Quality of life rank: #53
- Professional opportunities rank: #50
- STEM-friendliness rank: #44

Come for the music, stay for the STEM-friendliness of this famed Tennessee capital. One sure sign of growing investment is Amazon’s pledge to bring a record 5,000 jobs to Nashville in 2021, which the company considers a growing tech center. Other notable employers include Vanderbilt Medical Center and several other health-care companies.

#46. Greenville, SC
6/Mike Burton // Flickr

#46. Greenville, SC

- Total score: 48.97
- Quality of life rank: #6
- Professional opportunities rank: #12
- STEM-friendliness rank: #78

Greenville has gotten attention in recent years from CNN Money, Bloomberg, and Forbes for its growing population, solid job market, and hospitality to young professionals. Though it’s not as STEM-focused as other metros on this list, it ranks high on the quality-of-life and professional-opportunities rankings.

#45. Syracuse, NY
7/John Marino // Flickr

#45. Syracuse, NY

- Total score: 49.08
- Quality of life rank: #3
- Professional opportunities rank: #40
- STEM-friendliness rank: #56

Another New York city home to a prestigious research university, Syracuse University, Syracuse is known for being a crossroads of the northeast. Though the decline in manufacturing has challenged Syracuse’s local economy, the city has successfully pivoted to a more technical economy, with top employers including Lockheed Martin, National Grid USA, and Carrier. It placed third on WalletHub’s list of cities with the highest quality of life.

#44. Des Moines, IA
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#44. Des Moines, IA

- Total score: 49.19
- Quality of life rank: #30
- Professional opportunities rank: #21
- STEM-friendliness rank: #87

Iowa’s state capital, Des Moines is also the largest metropolitan area located completely inside Iowa’s borders. An “insurance capital” of the world, Des Moines is known for being the home to significant insurance companies such as Principal Financial Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and the Meredith Corporation, among others. Don’t overlook the STEM opportunities though: Microsoft, HP, and Facebook have all built data-processing sites in Des Moines over the past decade.

#43. Cleveland, OH
9/Ken Winters // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Cleveland, OH

- Total score: 49.79
- Quality of life rank: #65
- Professional opportunities rank: #61
- STEM-friendliness rank: #25

The NBC sitcom “30 Rock” once referred to Cleveland as a “hotspot that’s got the hippest groove,” and with good reason too: Downtown Cleveland is a growing metro center for young professionals and well-paying jobs. Significant STEM employers include the Cleveland Clinic, Applied Industrial Technologies, Cliffs Natural Resources, and Sherwin-Williams.

#42. Charlotte, NC
10/Chuck Allen // Flickr

#42. Charlotte, NC

- Total score: 49.84
- Quality of life rank: #56
- Professional opportunities rank: #23
- STEM-friendliness rank: #59

Charlotte has been one of the fastest-growing cities of the 21st century, with thousands of new residents drawn in by the growing economy, expanding workforce, high salaries, and relatively low cost of living. The home to Bank of America and the second-most banking assets in the country, after only New York City, Charlotte is also home to Honeywell, Lowe’s, Duke Energy, and Sealed Air, the manufacturer of Bubble Wrap.

#41. Ogden, UT
11/Scott Catron // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Ogden, UT

- Total score: 51.31
- Quality of life rank: #8
- Professional opportunities rank: #29
- STEM-friendliness rank: #44

There are Ogdens across the country, from New York to Missouri and Arkansas to Michigan. Ogden, Utah, the largest city of the name, is home to fewer than one hundred thousand people. Despite its small size, Ogden ranks highly on WalletHub’s quality of life ranking, and is home to STEM employers such as McKay Dee Hospital, Fresenius, and Autoliv.

#40. Boise, ID
12/Charles Knowles // Flickr

#40. Boise, ID

- Total score: 51.40
- Quality of life rank: #7
- Professional opportunities rank: #65
- STEM-friendliness rank: #79

Another one of several state capitals on this list, Boise was the 99th-largest city in the U.S. according to the 2010 census. Though it places relatively low on the professional opportunities and STEM-friendliness rankings, its high quality of life contributes to its overall placement: it’s a regional hub for the arts, with a thriving jazz, theater, and indie music scene.

#39. Allentown, PA
13/Paul Leiby // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Allentown, PA

- Total score: 51.44
- Quality of life rank: #39
- Professional opportunities rank: #67
- STEM-friendliness rank: #13

Allentown places highly on the STEM-friendliness criterion because of its recent turn to technical jobs after the loss in manufacturing jobs felt across the Rust Belt. The Urban Land Institute named downtown Allentown a national success story in 2016, and the city is home to the energy company PPL, which delivers electricity to 10 million customers.

#38. Dallas, TX
14/Robert Hensley // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Dallas, TX

- Total score: 51.94
- Quality of life rank: #68
- Professional opportunities rank: #41
- STEM-friendliness rank: #24

Home to 17 billionaires amongst its nearly 1.5 million citizens, Dallas is also home to nine Fortune 500 companies including American Airlines, ExxonMobil, and J. C. Penney. WalletHub has previously ranked Dallas as the fifth-most diverse city in the U.S., and it places highly on their STEM-friendliness ranking.

#37. Philadelphia, PA
15/Konstantin Kolosov // Shutterstock

#37. Philadelphia, PA

- Total score: 51.96
- Quality of life rank: #66
- Professional opportunities rank: #46
- STEM-friendliness rank: #19

Home to many prestigious research universities, including the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania, and five Fortune 500 companies, it’s easy to see why Philadelphia ranks highly on WalletHub’s STEM-friendliness rank. Philly is specifically emerging as a biotechnology hub, thanks to international investment.

#36. Omaha, NE
16/Colinullness // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Omaha, NE

- Total score: 52.41
- Quality of life rank: #14
- Professional opportunities rank: #37
- STEM-friendliness rank: #83

The “Gateway to the West” ranks high in quality of life, though low on STEM-friendliness. The most notable Fortune 500 company located in Omaha is Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett’s world-famous mega-conglomerate. Though Forbes has considered it one of its best places for business and careers, Omaha’s economy prioritizes banking and insurance over emerging STEM fields.

#35. Albany, NY
17/UpstateNYer // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Albany, NY

- Total score: 52.71
- Quality of life rank: #19
- Professional opportunities rank: #18
- STEM-friendliness rank: #41

Albany’s a big city with a tiny secret: a boom in nanotechnology. IBM and Intel have invested billions in chip manufacturing in Albany, and the eastern part of New York State has been rebranded as Tech Valley, encompassing research institutes such as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and several computer chip manufacturers.

#34. Tampa, FL
18/FightingRaven531 // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Tampa, FL

- Total score: 52.72
- Quality of life rank: #35
- Professional opportunities rank: #39
- STEM-friendliness rank: #43

Tampa is well balanced in WalletHub’s three criteria, as a city with a significant healthcare sector home to companies like BayCare Health System, HCA West Florida, and Tampa General Hospital. The main server farm for Wikipedia, the Internet’s encyclopedia, is located in Tampa. As a coastal city, though, rising sea levels threaten Tampa’s future.

#33. Houston, TX
19/Sheri Locke // www.nasa.gov

#33. Houston, TX

- Total score: 53.43
- Quality of life rank: #54
- Professional opportunities rank: #47
- STEM-friendliness rank: #20

Synonymous with space travel because of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston is one of the country’s largest cities by population and by area. Houston is a global capital in energy production, both in the oilfield technologies of the recent past and the emerging renewables market of the near future. The University of Houston system is a big draw for incoming residents, with an overwhelming number of graduates choosing to stay and live in Houston after receiving their degree.

#32. Washington D.C.
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#32. Washington D.C.

- Total score: 53.48
- Quality of life rank: #42
- Professional opportunities rank: #2
- STEM-friendliness rank: #80

D.C. ranks relatively low on WalletHub’s STEM-friendliness and quality of life rankings, but it makes up for it in professional opportunities. Georgetown University and George Washington University, both highly regarded research institutions, are the number one and two biggest employers in D.C. that aren’t related to the federal government.

#31. Los Angeles, CA
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#31. Los Angeles, CA

- Total score: 53.55
- Quality of life rank: #69
- Professional opportunities rank: #78
- STEM-friendliness rank: #4

The City of Angels is known for Hollywood, but it’s also the biggest manufacturing hub in the country, home to over half a million industry jobs. It’s also home to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC), both well-regarded research universities that contribute to its high STEM-friendliness rank.

#30. Spokane, WA
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#30. Spokane, WA

- Total score: 53.61
- Quality of life rank: #41
- Professional opportunities rank: #38
- STEM-friendliness rank: #35

Spokane’s success has been built on natural resources, with productive gold and silver mines and plenty of logging and agriculture. In modern times, Spokane has pivoted towards the tech sector, especially biotechnology, to bring in new residents to the Lilac City.

#29. Richmond, VA
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#29. Richmond, VA

- Total score: 53.71
- Quality of life rank: #59
- Professional opportunities rank: #15
- STEM-friendliness rank: #37

The capital of Virginia, Richmond has a rich history, as the city was founded in 1737 and later became the capital of the Confederacy. Dominion Energy is headquartered there, along with many prestigious law firms and finance corporations. In 1995, Richmond opened the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park, which serves as an incubator for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and employs thousands of scientists and engineers.

#28. Colorado Springs, CO
24/David Shankbone // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Colorado Springs, CO

- Total score: 53.71
- Quality of life rank: #22
- Professional opportunities rank: #33
- STEM-friendliness rank: #64

Colorado Springs has the highest growth in the young-adult population of any U.S. city, according to a 2018 report from Brookings, and was named by U.S. News as the #1 most desirable place to live in America back in May. Though the high-tech industry provides thousands of jobs in the region, that number has declined from its peak around the turn of the century.

#27. Phoenix, AZ
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#27. Phoenix, AZ

- Total score: 53.84
- Quality of life rank: #33
- Professional opportunities rank: #56
- STEM-friendliness rank: #32

The only state capital with more than a million residents, Phoenix is home to the Fortune 500 tech manufacturer Avnet and Honeywell’s aerospace division. Intel also employs 12,000 workers in the area, which has a strong art and architecture scene.

#26. Provo, UT
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#26. Provo, UT

- Total score: 54.21
- Quality of life rank: #34
- Professional opportunities rank: #24
- STEM-friendliness rank: #31

Formerly the city with the seventh-worst flag in the country (just look at it), Provo is home to Brigham Young University, a well-regarded LDS research institution and the city’s top employer. Vivint Inc., which provides smart-home services, also employs thousands at its Provo headquarters.

#25. Portland, OR
27/FCB 981 // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Portland, OR

- Total score: 54.86
- Quality of life rank: #31
- Professional opportunities rank: #30
- STEM-friendliness rank: #39

Amid cries to “Keep Portland Weird,” the City of Roses rebounded from a reputation of crime and poverty to become a hub for culture and the arts. It’s also home to the Silicon Forest, a cluster of tech companies that include Intel, Xerox, Pixelworks, and over 1,000 others.

#24. St. Louis, MO
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#24. St. Louis, MO

- Total score: 54.91
- Quality of life rank: #37
- Professional opportunities rank: #11
- STEM-friendliness rank: #52

Ranking highly in professional opportunities, St. Louis is home to Washington University, a highly ranked research institution, and nine Fortune 500 companies. Boeing Defense, Peabody energy, Ameren, and Monsanto are among the STEM companies that call St. Louis home.

#23. Tucson, AZ
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#23. Tucson, AZ

- Total score: 54.94
- Quality of life rank: #26
- Professional opportunities rank: #34
- STEM-friendliness rank: #49

Tucson is home to the University of Arizona, which is ranked 106th in U.S. News’s breakdown of the best universities in America. It’s also home to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Raytheon, the missile manufacturer that contracts with the U.S. Military, and the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.

#22. Dayton, OH
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#22. Dayton, OH

- Total score: 55.39
- Quality of life rank: #1
- Professional opportunities rank: #17
- STEM-friendliness rank: #40

Like Tucson, Dayton’s home to a military base, in this case Wright-Patterson, which has a significant place in the Dayton community, with an economic impact of billions of dollars. Dayton is known for its aerospace and aviation technology sector, and has recently established Tech Town, which hopes to incubate startups utilizing RFID technology.

#21. Denver, CO
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#21. Denver, CO

- Total score: 55.54
- Quality of life rank: #55
- Professional opportunities rank: #13
- STEM-friendliness rank: #30

According to U.S. News, the Mile High City is the second best place to live in the United States. Therefore, it’s a good place for big tech companies to open offices, as Amazon, Facebook, and Arrow Electronics have all done. With low unemployment and a burgeoning job market, it’s clear why Denver ranks high on professional opportunities.

#20. Raleigh, NC
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#20. Raleigh, NC

- Total score: 56.0
- Quality of life rank: #43
- Professional opportunities rank: #4
- STEM-friendliness rank: #58

North Carolina’s capital city, Raleigh, is part of Research Triangle Park, along with Durham and Chapel Hill; all three cities have world-class research universities and are home to thousands of tech jobs. Raleigh is the fastest-growing metro in the country, which leads to its placement in the top five metros for professional opportunities.

#19. San Jose, CA
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#19. San Jose, CA

- Total score: 57.27
- Quality of life rank: #61
- Professional opportunities rank: #25
- STEM-friendliness rank: #7

No wonder San Jose places in the top-10 metros for STEM-friendliness; it’s the heart of Silicon Valley, home to Big Tech, bigger paychecks, and even bigger housing costs. The San Jose metropolitan area has the most millionaires and billionaires in the United States per capita, and is home to eBay, PayPal, Adobe, Samsung, and countless others.

#18. Sacramento, CA
34/Michael Grindstaff // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Sacramento, CA

- Total score: 58.68
- Quality of life rank: #32
- Professional opportunities rank: #52
- STEM-friendliness rank: #9

California’s capital is the fastest-growing city in California and is home to the University of California, Davis and the UC Davis Medical Center, which ranks among the nation’s top hospitals. Intel also employs thousands of workers in their Sacramento office.

#17. Chicago, IL
35/Louis Gadelha Jr. // Flickr

#17. Chicago, IL

- Total score: 58.87
- Quality of life rank: #21
- Professional opportunities rank: #57
- STEM-friendliness rank: #16

Chicago’s economy is known for its diversification; instead of the economic output being chiefly one or two industries, like the oil businesses of Texas or the military industrial cities like Tucson, Chicago’s output is evenly divided amongst many industries. Boeing, a Dow 30 company, is the largest STEM corporation headquartered in Chicago, which is also home to the renowned University of Chicago.

#16. Orlando, FL
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#16. Orlando, FL

- Total score: 59.09
- Quality of life rank: #27
- Professional opportunities rank: #9
- STEM-friendliness rank: #38

Orlando is known as a tourist destination, and as the “Theme Park Capital of the World.” However, it’s also a major industrial and technology center, home to Central Florida Research Park, a manufacturing facility for Lockheed Martin, and nearby Patrick Air Force Base.

#15. Worcester, MA
37/Matti Blume // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Worcester, MA

- Total score: 59.46
- Quality of life rank: #63
- Professional opportunities rank: #28
- STEM-friendliness rank: #6

If you’ve ever used noise-cancelling headphones on a flight, you have the David Clark Company, which is located in Worcester. Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Massachusetts Medical School are significant institutions, and The Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Park hosts tech companies such as Advanced Cell Technology and AbbVie.

#14. Springfield, MA
38/Steve // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Springfield, MA

- Total score: 59.75
- Quality of life rank: #11
- Professional opportunities rank: #85
- STEM-friendliness rank: #2

Springfield is known as the “City of Firsts”; it’s where the dictionary, the gas-powered automobile, and basketball were born. Because of its high concentration of liberal arts colleges and universities, the greater Hartford-Springfield area is sometimes dubbed the “Knowledge Corridor.”

#13. Hartford, CT
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#13. Hartford, CT

- Total score: 60.44
- Quality of life rank: #10
- Professional opportunities rank: #14
- STEM-friendliness rank: #17

The other end of the “Knowledge Corridor,” Hartford is the capital of Connecticut, and is known as the “Insurance Capital of the World.” In 2018, Infosys, an Indian IT giant, pledged to open a new technology innovation hub in Hartford, bringing 1,000 jobs to the city.

#12. Columbus, OH
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#12. Columbus, OH

- Total score: 61.08
- Quality of life rank: #16
- Professional opportunities rank: #36
- STEM-friendliness rank: #22

Columbus, the capital of Ohio, is home to Ohio State University, the university’s Medical Center, and Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit science and technology development company. Battelle has helped develop nuclear fuel rods for nuclear reactors, cruise control for automobiles, solar cells for renewable energy, and reusable insulin injection pens for people with diabetes.

#11. San Diego, CA
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#11. San Diego, CA

- Total score: 61.43
- Quality of life rank: #12
- Professional opportunities rank: #45
- STEM-friendliness rank: #18

Where there are schools in the University of California system, there are opportunities for STEM workers. That rule is no different for San Diego, home to the University of California, San Diego and a hub for biotechnology research. San Diego is also home to the world’s largest naval fleet and, thus, several large government contractors.

#10. Cincinnati, OH
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#10. Cincinnati, OH

- Total score: 61.81
- Quality of life rank: #13
- Professional opportunities rank: #22
- STEM-friendliness rank: #34

Cincinnati is among the swiftest-growing cities in the Midwest. It’s home to Fortune 500 companies such as Procter & Gamble and General Electric’s Global Operations Center, and universities such as the University of Cincinnati and Miami University.

#9. Minneapolis, MN
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#9. Minneapolis, MN

- Total score: 63.07
- Quality of life rank: #17
- Professional opportunities rank: #26
- STEM-friendliness rank: #12

Minneapolis is the largest city in Minnesota and, with St. Paul, forms the Twin Cities. Hennepin County Medical Center is among the largest employers in Minneapolis, and Forbes called Minnesota the fastest-growing state for tech jobs in 2015.

#8. Salt Lake City, UT
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#8. Salt Lake City, UT

- Total score: 63.23
- Quality of life rank: #23
- Professional opportunities rank: #6
- STEM-friendliness rank: #26

Salt Lake City is another example of a western metro built using natural resource wealth, but which has successfully transitioned into the service economy of the new millennium. The Questar Corporation, which is a natural gas energy company, is headquartered in Salt Lake City, and tech firms such as eBay, Adobe, Unisys, and 3M have offices there.

#7. Atlanta, GA
45/Georgia National Guard // Flickr

#7. Atlanta, GA

- Total score: 63.50
- Quality of life rank: #24
- Professional opportunities rank: #7
- STEM-friendliness rank: #27

Atlanta is one of the most concentrated cities for corporations in the country, hosting the global headquarters for Coca-Cola, UPS, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, AT&T, Mobility, and Chick-fil-A. With a growing STEM field, especially in IT, and world-class culture, Atlanta ranks among the top world cities for GDP.

#6. Madison, WI
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#6. Madison, WI

- Total score: 63.59
- Quality of life rank: #15
- Professional opportunities rank: #16
- STEM-friendliness rank: #23

The capital of Wisconsin just misses the top five on WalletHub’s list. It’s home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison, which is the largest employer in the state and ranked #49 on U.S. News’ best colleges and universities list. Epic Systems, a health-care software company, is another big employer, and the educated populace makes Madison a hotspot for job growth.

#5. San Francisco, CA
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#5. San Francisco, CA

- Total score: 64.49
- Quality of life rank: #60
- Professional opportunities rank: #3
- STEM-friendliness rank: #5

With rolling hills, dense fog, and an even more dense network of universities and tech companies, San Francisco is one of the most important metros for the growing STEM economy in the United States. San Francisco is home to Salesforce, Dropbox, Reddit, Square, Dolby, Airbnb, Yelp, Pinterest, Twitter, and many, many other tech companies.

#4. Austin, TX
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#4. Austin, TX

- Total score: 64.60
- Quality of life rank: #25
- Professional opportunities rank: #8
- STEM-friendliness rank: #14

The final state capital on this list, Austin is home to offices of Amazon, Cisco, Apple, eBay, and other tech giants. The University of Texas at Austin ranks in the top 50 national universities in the U.S. News list, focusing particularly on engineering and applied science. Like in Portland, “Keep Austin Weird” is a commonplace slogan, emphasizing the city's unique culture and arts scene.

#3. Pittsburgh, PA
49/Dllu // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Pittsburgh, PA

- Total score: 67.84
- Quality of life rank: #5
- Professional opportunities rank: #10
- STEM-friendliness rank: #15

Pittsburgh is known as the City of Bridges; aside from infrastructure, it’s also building bridges to a technical tomorrow. Carnegie Mellon University is the crown jewel of Pittsburgh’s higher education scene of 68 colleges, and Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and IBM all have offices within the city.

#2. Boston, MA
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#2. Boston, MA

- Total score: 68.18
- Quality of life rank: #74
- Professional opportunities rank: #5
- STEM-friendliness rank: #1

The #1 city for STEM-friendliness according to WalletHub, Boston isn’t just a thriving sports town or historical landmark, it’s a world leader in higher education and technological development, especially in the biotechnology sector. Startup unicorns like PillPack and CarGurus have been understated successes of the region.

#1. Seattle, WA
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#1. Seattle, WA

- Total score: 74.59
- Quality of life rank: #20
- Professional opportunities rank: #1
- STEM-friendliness rank: #3

Amazon, which is headquartered in Seattle, might snap up all the media attention, but Seattle is more than a one-trick pony. From global health—the Gates foundation is headquartered here, along with Infectious Disease Research Institute and tens of others—to green technology, Seattle is the best city for STEM workers looking to put down roots in a city that will adapt and thrive in the coming century.

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