Where the Jobs Are

Houston is the land of opportunity for science, technology and math nerds

Houston is the land of opportunity for science, tech and math nerds

Kid Scientists for TEDxSMU
Young scientists have a bright future in Dallas and other Texas cities. Photo courtesy of Akitv I Oslo.no/Flickr

Math and science nerds may not have been the most popular in high school, but their passions are paying off. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage for a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) job is almost $80,000 — nearly 71 percent higher than the national annual average wage across all occupations and industries.

So where are these STEM graduates finding jobs? In Texas, of course.

According to a new survey from fellow nerds at Nerdwallet.com, Houston, Dallas and Austin are among the top places in the nation for science and technology job seekers.

To determine the rankings, the number crunchers looked at annual mean wage for STEM occupations, median gross rent and STEM occupations as a percentage of all jobs in 75 metro areas across the country.

Houston ranked No. 4 on the list, while Austin landed at No. 6. Dallas fell just outside the top 10 at No. 11. The survey noted this about Houston:

People working in STEM occupations in the Greater Houston region enjoy a high average income of $94,766, and a relatively low cost of living to boot. Major industries in Houston include advanced manufacturing and technology, aerospace, biotechnology and life sciences and energy. The University of Houston STEM Center helps attract and retain students in STEM careers, both locally and nationally."

Houston's STEM average income of $94,766 is higher than Dallas ($81,215) and Austin ($79,433), while average monthly rent of $873 is lower than Dallas ($877) and Austin ($978). However rents are based on 2012 figures, and given the way housing costs have risen in Houston, we'd be floored to find such housing at $873 a month.

It's harder to find a STEM job in the Bayou City, too, as they make up just 7 percent of all occupations. Dallas fares slightly better at 7.5 percent, while Austin offers the most chances for tech employment with 9.8 percent of all jobs classified as STEM.

The only state better than Texas for STEM graduates is California, which had four cities in the top 20: San Jose (No. 1), San Francisco (No. 5), Sacramento (No. 15) and San Diego (No. 20).