From Rust Belt to Tech Powerhouse: Best Metros for Tech Workers in the Midwest

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For decades, the Midwest was known as the industrial heartland of the nation, and the place where the goods, tools and machinery that drove the U.S. economy were produced. But, as a wave of deindustrialization hit the region starting in the 1980s, Midwestern cities were faced with the challenge of rebuilding their fortunes in a new age of tech dominance.

So, to better gauge the progress made — and as a follow-up to our previous analysis on Midwestern and Northeastern cities in the decade after the financial crisis — we ranked the 20 best Midwestern metro areas for tech development, according to nine metrics. Specifically, our analysis included data on the local ratio of tech businesses; tech employment within the wider local economy; and the number of patents granted, as well as unemployment rate and educational attainment. For a breakdown of all of these indicators, along with data sources and other details, please consult our methodology.

Madison Ranks Best in Midwest, Chicago Snags 3rd With Highest Earnings for Tech Workers

Madison, Wis., led the ranking with a total of 66 points and strong performances across several metrics. For instance, the metro boasted the highest ratio of tech employment opportunities among all of the entries with 71 of every 1,000 occupations being within this sector. Professionals employed by tech businesses in Madison can also expect to be well-paid for their knowledge and skills as the Wisconsin metro area had the second-highest earnings for jobs in this industry on the list (roughly $89,000 per year).

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