Is Minneapolis the Midwest’s Silicon Valley?

Posted · Add Comment

When we think of the tech world, we often confine it to the coasts — the Bay Area to the west, New York to the east. Much of the American business world conducts itself in New York, and Silicon Valley every year draws thousands of ambitious programmers and startups looking to become the next Zuckerberg or Jobs.

The problem? The coasts are expensive, and as rents continue to explode in cities like San Jose, San Francisco, and even Brooklyn, many industry experts are predicting a migration to cheaper climes in the South and Midwest.

Has it already started? To answer that question, ABODO did a little research on the best cities for tech jobs, taking into account not only job concentration but also income and rent. To show which U.S. cities enjoy both abundant tech job opportunities and approachable compensation and rents, we created a score, with employment weighted 75% and the income-to-rent ratio 25%.

Although some of the cities on the ranked list are familiar — the sheer job opportunities in San Francisco can offset the high rent — others are surprising. Detroit, Madison, Indianapolis, and Cleveland are all in the top 25, buoyed by cheap rents and increasing concentrations of tech jobs.

Minneapolis boasted the second-highest concentration of tech jobs in the entire Midwest, with 42 out of every 1,000 jobs being jobs in computers and mathematics. (The only city to best it was Madison, home of Epic Systems, a healthcare software giant that employs over 10,000 people.) Minneapolis is the corporate headquarters for Best Buy, Target, and General Mills. Those multinational brands not only require skilled coders and technicians — the influx of capital and skilled labor they provide to the local economy also helps support other local start-ups. According to Techflier, over 500 start-ups have been founded in Minneapolis since 2015.

So why is Minneapolis only #27 on our list of the best tech jobs? Rent. It can be hard to find cheap one-bedroom apartments in Minneapolis. In fact, the median price for a one-bedroom is $1,372. That’s about half the rent of a pied-a-terre in San Jose, but it’s higher than many of its Midwestern brethren. And though the median salary for a tech worker in Minneapolis is $82,240, for a 5-to-1 income-to-rent ratio, it’s hard to beat Detroit at 12-to-1.

Still, Minneapolis is a gorgeous city, with abundant high-paying jobs and a high quality of life. As companies try to attract and retain new talent, look for those salaries to increase — and for Minneapolis to be a major player in tech going forward.