America’s primary high-tech nodes



Provided below are two lists compiled from 2011 data and published in a December 2012 report by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. The first lists those cities or portions of metropolitan areas that have the highest percentage of their workforce employed in high-tech industries.

The second was compiled by the this author from the report’s summary chart for the top 150 metro areas. It shows those metropolitan areas (versus individual cities or portions of a metropolitan area) with the largest aggregate high-tech workforce. In this case, larger population centers tend to have a numerical advantage, but it was interesting data to calculate.

Wichita - Source:

Wichita – Source:

The data reinforces known information on the primary high-tech centers in the United States. But it also contains a few surprises – principle among them is the unexpected high-tech powerhouse of Wichita, Kansas. Yes, Wichita is one of America’s great aircraft manufacturing centers, but its economy has grown to become much more high-tech diverse. In fact, according to the study, several other cities in the Great Plains have developed a significant amount of high-tech employment including Kansas City, Omaha, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa.



The only disappointment with the report was that it left out some significant smaller markets, particularly university cities that are major high-tech centers. These include Ann Arbor, MI; Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN; Ames, Iowa; and Fort Collins, CO. Otherwise, the report is quite interesting and informative.

High-Tech as a Percentage of the Total Work Force 

  1. San Jose, CA
  2. Boulder (Denver), CO
  3. Huntsville, AL
  4. Cambridge-Framingham (Boston), MA
  5. Seattle, WA
  6. Wichita, KS
  7. Washington, DC
  8. Melbourne-Titusville, FL
  9. Bethesda-Frederick (Washington), MD
  10. San Francisco, CA
  11. Durham-Chapel Hill (Research Triangle), NC
  12. Manchester-Nashua, NH
  13. San Diego, CA
  14. Austin, TX
  15. Peabody (Boston), MA
  16. Prove-Orem, UT
  17. Colorado Springs, CO
  18. Oakland-Fremont, CA
  19. Raleigh-Cary (Research Triangle), NC
  20. Santa Barbara, CA
  21. Trenton (Philadelphia), NJ
  22. Madison, WI
  23. Albuquerque, NM
  24. Lake County-Kenosha (Chicago), IL-WI
  25. Orange County, CA

Total High-Tech Employment by Metro Regions

  1. New York City, NY-NJ – 352,100
  2. Washington, DC-MD-VA – 295,100
  3. San Jose, CA – 232,000
  4. Seattle-Tacoma, WA – 227,000
  5. Boston, MA – 225,000
  6. Los Angeles, CA – 208,100
  7. San Francisco-Oakland, CA – 191,600
  8. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX – 183,700
  9. Philadelphia-Trenton-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE – 139,100
  10. Chicagoland, IL-IN-WI – 136,900
  11. Houston, TX – 122,500
  12. San Diego, CA – 115,200
  13. Detroit, MI – 104,600
  14. Orange County, CA – 102,900
  15. Denver-Boulder, CO – 101,500
  16. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ – 95,500
  17. Atlanta, GA – 91,900
  18. Twin Cities, MN-WI – 91,400
  19. Portland, OR-WA – 68,400
  20. Austin, TX – 67,200
  21. Baltimore-Towson, MD – 66,100
  22. Wasatch Range (Salt lake City-Ogden-Provo), UT – 64,600
  23. Research Triangle, NC – 63,700
  24. Southeast Florida, FL – 63,700
  25. Southwest Ohio, OH – 53,400
This entry was posted in cities, Communications, culture, economic development, economic gardening, Economy, entrepreneurship, geography, Health care, infrastructure, Labor, North America, planning, product design, Science, Small business, States, Statistics, technology, Trade and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to America’s primary high-tech nodes

  1. basil berchekas jr says:

    I note Huntsville is in the top three; NASA and the Army Missile Command (MICOM) have that covered; there are some spin off developments gaining ground there from these two “heavy weights” here as well.In Wichita, maybe the aircraft industry “laid the base” for it there, like Werner Von Braun’s rocket team did for Huntsville. Only recently have university towns recognized the value of networking with their colleges in attracting R&D oriented industries, getting past old “town and gown” conflicts and instead, coordinating economic and community development efforts for the benefit of both. I’ll get off the soapbox now!


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