Math degrees are more important to a company’s future growth than the exact number of mathematical and engineering degrees, according to a new study from research firm NDS Analytics.
In a report, NDS said the most valuable mathematical and computer science degrees are in the top 10 percent of the U.S. population and the most valued computer science degree is in the bottom 30 percent of earners.
NDS analyzed data from more than 7 million graduates of math and computer sciences colleges and universities and found that the top-ranked math and science degree in a particular state is worth nearly $30,000, while the highest-ranked computer science is worth about $35,000.
“The top 10% of earners in that top-10 percent state have a median net worth of more than $200,000,” NDS Senior Economist David R. Lassen wrote in the report.
“These states have higher median net-worth per capita than most of the nation.
This means the top 20% of households have a net worth that is significantly higher than the top 1% in the nation.”
The study is the latest in a series that has highlighted how math and computers can lead to wealth.
In 2017, a new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that only 10% to 20% were able to afford college and that the median net wealth of college graduates was only $36,000 in 2017.
And the number of people who have earned a bachelor’s degree in the field has been decreasing for decades, falling from 2.1 million in 1973 to 1.8 million in 2017, according a report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
The number of degrees awarded by U.s. colleges and the number awarded have both decreased over the years, and the report found that fewer Americans are taking the plunge to study computer science.
The NDS study found that among the top 50 states and the District of Columbia, the median annual net worth for students with a bachelor of science degree was $100,000 to $175,000 or more, and that students with degrees in math, computer science, physics, and engineering averaged $100 to $160,000 a year.
And among the nation’s 50 largest cities, the mean net worth per capita for students pursuing a bachelor degree in mathematics was about $150,000 for the city of Miami, $170,000 from Houston, and $175 and $200 from Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago, according the report, which was compiled by NDS.
“For those in their 20s and 30s who do not have a bachelor in math or computer science and are looking to move up, the net worth is going to be quite significant,” said Ramesh Pandey, the report’s lead author.
“And for the very high net worth, they’re going to need a lot of help to get there.”
For many students, math and engineering is a stepping stone to a career in the private sector, the NDS report found.
“We need more students to have a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, as it is one of the most competitive fields in terms of pay, job security, and prestige,” Pandey said.
“If we can get more students in math and tech, then we’ll have more employers in the economy.”
For example, a study from NDS last year showed that for graduates of the University of Pennsylvania’s Sloan School of Management, the average salary of a job offered to a mathematician was $130,000 per year.
“Students from families earning less than $80,000 may have an even harder time getting into the math and technology workforce than their peers who are in high-income households,” Panday said.
For more, read the report and see the full list of states and cities in the table below.