Friday, November 11, 2011

Where are the chemists? An interesting map

I'm a big fan of county-level maps of the US, so I'm especially fond of BLS' different maps of chemist statistics across the US. This is a map of the highest concentrations of chemists. While most of the dark green areas correspond to major metropolitan areas, some of them correspond to the remarkably low population density of the rural United States (I'm looking at you, Kennewick-Pasco-Richland.)

Highest concentrations of chemists (Area, number of chemists / chemists per thousand jobs)
  1. Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, WA: 590 / 6.17
  2. Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ Metropolitan Division: 1,920 / 6.11
  3. College Station-Bryan, TX: 450 / 4.90
  4. Durham, NC: 1,010 /3.78
  5. Bethesda-Frederick-Gaithersburg, MD Metropolitan Division: 1,670 / 3.02
  6. Pine Bluff, AR: 100 / 3.02
  7. Boulder, CO: 450 / 2.94
  8. Framingham, MA NECTA Division: 390 / 2.55
  9. Columbia, MO:  200 / 2.47
  10. Newark-Union, NJ-PA Metropolitan Division: 2,300 / 2.42
Never ceases to amaze, the ability of a nearby university or government facility (looking at you, Pine Bluff) to skew statistics in interesting ways. 


  1. I am more surprised by the Tri-cities (That is what we call the Kennewick-Pasco-Richland). I grew up a few hours from there and frankly have no idea what those people are doing there.

  2. Area 51 has chemists!!!

  3. Tri-Cities has Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, which regularly posts postdoc positions on ACS Careers. (Go Bombers!)

    w/r/t Nevada, I assume that it's Nellis AFB and the associated military installations.

  4. Pine Bluff is the Center for Drug Toxicology at Pine Bluff Arsenal.

  5. But it looks like this basically selects for Chemists who have one of the very few jobs in a whole location. I.e. you work in a county that has very few employers beyond fast food.

  6. Yes, A9:19a. You can take the top ten list and split them by # of total jobs, #2, 5, 10 versus everyone else.

    More or less bimodal distribution, which is why county-level maps are fun/skewing.

  7. All right New Mexico and Wyoming!

  8. I don't get what's up with New Mexico. Los Alamos National Labs has some top-notch nuclear and inorganic chemists. Plus, there's got to be chemists (at least academically employed) in Wyoming and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

  9. meth labs in nevada?

  10. Nevada is interesting but what puzzles me more is central oregon, idaho and southern montana...

  11. There's some funky "gerrymandering" going on here. Just look at the largest 0.67-0.85 region encompassing most of Kansas, excluding what I believe are major cities. Still, WTH kind of districting is THAT?!

  12. Kansas needs chemists as pesticide and fertilizer sales people?

  13. A11:02: The divisions aren't congressional districts, they're metropolitan statistical areas, which is a unit that is used for these statistical analyses.

    Central Oregon: I have no idea. Bend Research, perhaps?

    Idaho = Idaho National Laboratories (?)

    Southern Montana: Montana State (?)

  14. western Utah -> Dugway Proving grounds

  15. Re Oregon: Good call on Bend Research; also Molecular Probes/Invitrogen, some Materials-type work at semiconductor plants and UO/OSU aren't too far from each other. Also, it probably looks more impressive when there's not a lot of other jobs in the area.

  16. Is there any non-meth related chemistry going on in Fargo, ND? Also, what's with that crazy looking "metropolitan statistical area" spanning North Texas?


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