Which cities offer engineers the greatest combined opportunities and compensation?
To determine the best cities for engineers, personal finance site NerdWallet looked at 350 of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., analysing the size of the engineering industry therein using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as annual mean salary for engineers, and media gross rent.
“All 20 locations have larger engineering industries than the national average of 12 engineers for every 1,000 employees,” states the report. “Engineers in 13 of our top 20 places earn more than the national mean engineering salary, which is $92,170, and 14 places have lower median rents than the average U.S. metro area, which is $905 per month.”
Many of these cities are concentrated in warmer climes. Six of the top 10 and 11 of the top 20 cities on this ranking are in the south, with northern locales in Michigan, Ohio, and Washington also joining the top 10.
At the top of the list is “The Rocket City” Huntsville, Alabama. The city is home to a NASA flight centre and an Army arsenal, and scores big with the trifecta of a high concentration of engineers, a high average salary of $102,766.07, and low median gross rent of $725 per month.
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Number two is Warner Robbins, Georgia. Engineers make up 4% of the working population in Warner Robins, though they earn the lowest mean salary, $86,000, of those in any city on this list.
In third place is the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville area of Florida. Telecommunications company Harris Corporation and semiconductor manufacturer Intersil Corporation are both headquartered in the region, employing thousands locally. Engineers in this part of the Sunshine State earn nearly $94,000 annually, paying median gross rent of $876.
Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Michigan is one of the few northern metros in the top 10, landing on the list due mainly to its proximity to Detroit and the auto industry. GM and Chrysler claim facilities in Warren, while Nissan and Hitachi Automotive Systems America have plants in Farmington Hills.
The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area of California rounds out the top five. Engineers in this region account for 4% of the working population and earn nearly $120,000 per year. The area also claims the highest rent of any city on the top 10, with residents paying median gross rent of $1,640 each month.
The following are the cities on the lower half of the list.
This article originally appeared in Forbes.