Study Reveals US States with Highest Pay, Most Equality

Figures released last month by the National Endowment for the Arts offer telling insight into the architecture profession across the US, with a helpful breakdown of the representation of various demographic groups.

The data, collected between 2006-2010, reports the number of architects in each state and their race, gender, age and income. The data reveals which states have the highest/lowest income, the best/worst gender discrepancies, and also offer insights into the average age and races of architects, per state. 

Read more about what the NEA statistics reveal after the break.

The commonly held view that New York and California are the twin epicenters of US architecture is reinforced by the statistics, with the states sharing over a quarter of the nation's architects between them (9.81% and 15.51% respectively). However, the survey also compares the number of architects in relation to population size, which uncovers a few surprises; while New York and California are ranked 4th and 10th in this category, Hawaii actually comes in at number 2, with Massachusetts at number 3.

The District of Columbia, included as its own data set, is also an interesting point of comparison as it is the only entirely urban entry. The number of architects in comparison to the population size is almost four times the national average, putting DC way out in first for this category. DC architects are also younger, better paid and more racially diverse than states which cover larger areas and contain a greater portion of rural communities.

Nationally, one in every four architects is female. While this is fractionally better than in the UK, it can hardly be considered progressive. Some states, though, are ahead of the curve: in Massachusetts, Maryland, Montana, and Delaware this number is around one in three. At the other end of the spectrum, Arkansas, Wyoming and West Virginia have one female architect in about every ten; Arkansas sets the low-tide mark for inequality at around one in fifteen (6.5% women).

A similar pattern emerges in the racial demographics - nationally around 80% of architects are white, and, with the notable exception of Hawaii (48.5% Asian and only 32.1% White), at least two architects in every three are White in each state. In fact 38 of the US's 50 states are less equal than the national average of 80%; if it weren't for the more diverse, populous states (California, Florida, Texas and New York), then the average might be much higher. Once again Arkansas and Wyoming take the spotlight as least equal, this time along with both North and South Dakota: 100% of architects in all four states are white.

In some places, the statistics describing the age of architects give a further dimension to the equality statistics: in Wyoming, for example, a third of architects are in their Sixties, with only 8.3% under the age of 40. In North Dakota a different pattern is emerging: 40% of its architects are under 40, in line with the national average, but there is not a single architect between 40-49. At the other end of the age range, an impressive 11.4% of North Dakotan architects are 70 or older.

Finally, the statistics on wages may prove useful to any architects considering a relocation. Interestingly, Mississippi seems a good state in which to start a young career, with not a single architect earning less than $25,000. Those wishing to earn big money might consider New Jersey, Hawaii, California, or Connecticut and avoid Vermont, Montana and West Virginia.

Image of Hawaii via Shutterstock user Lorcel

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Cite: Rory Stott. "Study Reveals US States with Highest Pay, Most Equality" 10 Jul 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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