U.S. Tech Workers by the Numbers

Census Bureau data show a 2.8% increase in the median earnings for computer and math jobs, with women earning 85% of what men do in the field.

By Sharon Machlis
Thu, September 20, 2012

Computerworld — Median earnings for computer and math jobs rose 2.8% between 2010 and 2011 to $70,594, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The data includes salaries for occupations like math teachers and statisticians as well as those working in IT.

[Also see Computerworld's 2012 Salary Survey for additional data on IT wages by category, region and more]


Median earnings by job type

Job category20102011Change 
Computer and math $68,672 $70,594  2.8%
Architecture and engineering $69,653 $70,504  1.2%
Life, physical, and social science $52,174 $53,069  1.7%
All computer, engineering and science $66,268 $67,402  1.7%
All civilian employed $31,728 $32,096  1.2%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey 2010 and 2011

While that may sound somewhat paltry, it's a larger increase than the 1.7% for all computer, engineering and science occupations and 1.2% for U.S. jobs across all sectors.

Women holding computer and math jobs earned 85% of what their male counterparts did, with median earnings of $62,155 vs. $70,594. That's down from 89% in 2010. However, it's not clear from this data whether that's because more women tend to hold lower-paying jobs within those fields; whether they have fewer average years in the workforce; or whether there is unequal pay for similar work.


2011 female and male median earnings

Job categoryWomen Men Pct
Computer and math $62,155 $73,063  85.1%
Architecture and engineering $57,758 $71,945  80.3%
Life, physical, and social science $49,307 $59,773  82.5%
All computer, engineering and science $57,354 $71,421  80.3%
All civilian employed $27,225 $37,935  71.8%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau's 2011 American Community Survey

The percent of tech workers in the American workforce stayed constant from 2010 to 2011 at 5.2%, with a margin of error at 0.1%. Unlike the census undertaken every 10 years, which aims to question every U.S. household, the yearly ACS surveys a sample of 50,000 or so and asks more detailed questions about demographics, occupation and earnings. Tech worker is defined as anyone in computer, engineering and science occupations.

Washington, D.C. had the highest proportion of techies in its workforce at 10.3%, followed by Maryland (8.6%) and Virginia (7.8%), all likely related to the federal government. Massachusetts had the highest percent of tech workers outside the D.C. area at 7.5%, followed by Washington state and Colorado, each at 7.4%.


Percent workforce in computer, engineering and science jobs

Area20102011Percentage point change
Alabama  4.5%  4.3% -0.2%
Alaska  4.8%  5.2%  0.4%
Arizona  5.7%  5.3% -0.4%
Arkansas  2.9%  3.1%  0.2%
California  6.0%  6.1%  0.1%
Colorado  7.0%  7.4%  0.4%
Connecticut  6.0%  5.8% -0.2%
Delaware  5.5%  5.5%  0.0%
District of Columbia  9.6%  10.3%  0.7%
Florida  3.8%  3.9%  0.1%
Georgia  4.6%  4.8%  0.2%
Hawaii  4.2%  4.3%  0.1%
Idaho  5.4%  5.3% -0.1%
Illinois  4.9%  4.9%  0.0%
Indiana  4.1%  4.2%  0.1%
Iowa  4.2%  4.3%  0.1%
Kansas  4.7%  4.7%  0.0%
Kentucky  3.5%  3.5%  0.0%
Louisiana  3.3%  3.5%  0.2%
Maine  3.9%  4.3%  0.4%
Maryland  8.6%  8.6%  0.0%
Massachusetts  7.3%  7.5%  0.2%
Michigan  5.4%  5.5%  0.1%
Minnesota  6.0%  6.1%  0.1%
Mississippi  2.7%  2.9%  0.2%
Missouri  4.3%  4.6%  0.3%
Montana  4.6%  3.8% -0.8%
Nebraska  4.3%  4.3%  0.0%
Nevada  3.2%  3.1% -0.1%
New Hampshire  6.6%  7.2%  0.6%
New Jersey  5.9%  6.5%  0.6%
New Mexico  6.0%  5.8% -0.2%
New York  4.3%  4.4%  0.1%
North Carolina  4.6%  4.8%  0.2%
North Dakota  4.2%  3.7% -0.5%
Ohio  4.5%  4.7%  0.2%
Oklahoma  4.0%  3.8% -0.2%
Oregon  5.4%  5.6%  0.2%
Pennsylvania  4.9%  5.0%  0.1%
Rhode Island  5.0%  5.3%  0.3%
South Carolina  3.9%  4.1%  0.2%
South Dakota  4.0%  3.5% -0.5%
Tennessee  3.8%  4.0%  0.2%
Texas  5.0%  5.2%  0.2%
Utah  6.2%  6.1% -0.1%
Vermont  5.4%  5.0% -0.4%
Virginia  8.0%  7.8% -0.2%
Washington  7.5%  7.4% -0.1%
West Virginia  3.1%  3.9%  0.8%
Wisconsin  4.7%  4.9%  0.2%
Wyoming  4.9%  3.4% -1.5%
United States  5.2%  5.2%  0.0%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, 2010 and 2011
Originally published on www.computerworld.com. Click here to read the original story.
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