Top 5 Cities for Minorities in Computing

Cities for Computing

Top 5 Cities for Minorities in Computing

With Computer Science Education Week in full swing, it’s a good time to take stock of the future of computing in this country. Black, Latino, and Native Americans comprise 29 percent of the U.S. working-age population but only 15 percent of computer professionals.

As the tech economy continues to skyrocket, and minorities head towards majority status by 2050, that’s a recipe for squandering human potential and slowing innovation.

For this Top 5 list, CTEq crunched workforce data from the nation’s leading metro areas* to see if any can claim a truly diverse computer workforce. To compare metro areas, we gave each a “diversity score.” 

A metro area would get a diversity score of 1.00 if minorities were fully represented among computer professionals.

In other words, if Black, Latino, and Native Americans comprise 20 percent of a metro area’s working-age population, they would also have to comprise 20 percent of the area’s computing workforce. Metro areas where minorities are underrepresented score lower than 1.00.** 

Alas, no metro area we studied attains a diversity score of 1.00. In fact, technology meccas like San Jose and San Francisco, where underrepresented minorities hold less than 10 percent of computer jobs, received miserable scores of .36 or lower.

Yet some metro areas are doing much better than others. Here are our top five metro areas for minorities in computing. Three of the five tied for third place.

5. Washington, D.C.

DC at Night

The D.C. metro area boasts a lively tech sector, driven in large part by the federal government’s growing appetite for technology. The area is among the nation’s most diverse: underrepresented minorities make up almost 40 percent of the area’s working-age population and 23 percent of computer professionals. 

Diversity score: 0.59

4. Atlanta, GA

Atlanta at dusk

Atlanta is putting itself on the map as a center for tech start-up companies, and that is creating jobs. Like D.C., the Atlanta area is diverse, and that diversity extends to its tech workforce: underrepresented minorities comprise 43 percent of the working-age population and hold 25 percent of computing jobs. 

Diversity score: 0.59

3. Raleigh, NC

Raleigh downtown

Home to companies like Cisco, GlaxoSmithKline, IBM, and Intel, the Raleigh area’s world-famous Research Triangle has been an engine of tech employment for more than half a century. 

Seventeen percent of computer professionals in the area are black or Latino, compared to 30 percent of the population as a whole. 

Diversity score: 0.59

2. Tampa, FL

Tampa festival

Tampa isn’t a tech heavyweight on the order of other metro areas on our list, but its robust health care and financial sectors create a healthy number of computer jobs. Eighteen percent of those jobs have gone to underrepresented minorities, who make up 29 percent of the working-age population.  

Diversity score: 0.63

 1. Baltimore, MD

Baltimore Washington Monument

The Baltimore area doesn’t readily leap to mind as a center for technology, but its proximity to Washington, D.C. and it’s emerging start-up culture have helped the area generate well more than its share of tech jobs. 

Baltimore comes closer to a truly representative computing workforce than anywhere else in the country. Twenty-two percent of computer workers are Black or Latino in an area where Blacks and Latinos make up 33 percent of the working-age population.  

Diversity score: 0.65.

As our top five list makes clear, no one has fully cracked the code on how to create a truly diverse technology workforce. Still, these five metro areas stand head and shoulders above many others. As the tech industry struggles to cast a wider net for talent, it’s worth keeping our eye on the top five.

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