DENVER (KDVR) — If you’ve wondered how anyone can live in Colorado without a golden ticket job in tech or finance, you’re not far off the mark.
Colorado is one of the most educated states in the U.S. Almost 43% of its residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, the second highest share in the country. That highly educated workforce also has one of the highest concentrations of degrees with high earning potential – science, engineering and business.
Different college majors translate into vastly different lifelong earnings. Even at entry levels, degrees in STEM, business or health fields outearn degrees in humanities, arts or education by tens of thousands of dollars a year, depending on the specific major.
In each of Colorado’s metro areas, the highly educated workforce is also highly educated in STEM-related fields or in business.
Of the residents with bachelor’s degrees or higher, 69% of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood degree holders majored in STEM, STEM-related fields or business – the nation’s 26th-highest concentrations. Boulder and Grand Junction rank even higher at 17th and 14th, respectively.
Of 392 metro areas of all sizes, Colorado’s six metro areas each have the top 20% of concentrations of STEM, STEM-related and business degree holders. Conversely, a smaller share of their degree holders majored in arts, humanities or education than most of the U.S.
In part, this high education earnings power explains the expense. There is a strong correlation between the share of STEM or business degree holders and a city’s housing costs.