Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Nonmetropolitan areas had over half a million STEM jobs in May 2018

July 25, 2019

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations made up 3.2 percent of employment in nonmetropolitan areas in May 2018, compared with 6.3 percent of employment nationally and 6.6 percent of employment in metropolitan areas. Although nonmetropolitan areas generally had lower shares of STEM employment, there were more than 530,000 STEM jobs in these areas. The annual mean wage for STEM occupations in nonmetropolitan areas was $71,720, compared with $93,070 nationally and $94,160 in metropolitan areas.

Nonmetropolitan areas with the highest employment shares of STEM occupations, May 2018
Area Percent

Northeast Virginia


Northern New Mexico


Southwest Montana


Northwestern Idaho


West Central-Southwest New Hampshire


Alaska nonmetropolitan area


Eastern Washington


West Montana


Central Oregon


Nevada nonmetropolitan area


Eastern Wyoming


All nonmetropolitan areas


All metropolitan areas


United States


Some nonmetropolitan areas had above-average shares of STEM jobs. For example, STEM occupations made up 13.4 percent of employment in the Northeast Virginia nonmetropolitan area and 11.0 percent of employment in the Northern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area. By comparison, in the two metropolitan areas with the highest shares of STEM occupations—California-Lexington Park, Maryland, and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California—STEM jobs made up 27.4 percent and 21.0 percent of employment, respectively.

The composition of STEM jobs varied by area. For example, the largest individual STEM occupations in the Northeast Virginia nonmetropolitan area included computer and information research scientists, electrical engineers, and mechanical engineers. Physicists, nuclear engineers, and forest and conservation technicians were among the largest STEM occupations in the Northern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area.

These data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics program. The STEM definition used in this article is one of many possible STEM definitions. For additional data, including a list of occupations used in the STEM definition, see the May 2018 STEM data. Metropolitan and nonmetropolitan area data for detailed occupations are also available. Geographic definitions for the areas featured in this article are available from the May 2018 metropolitan and nonmetropolitan area definitions page. For more information on STEM occupations, see “8.8 million science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs in May 2016” and “STEM Occupations: Past, Present, and Future,” Spotlight on Statistics, January 2017.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Nonmetropolitan areas had over half a million STEM jobs in May 2018 at (visited May 29, 2024).

Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics