Technology is reshaping our economic geography, but there’s disagreement as to how. Much of the media and pundits like Richard Florida assert that the tech revolution is bound to be centralized in the dense, often “hip” places where “smart” people cluster. Some, like Slate’s David Talbot, even fear the new tech wave may erode whatever soul is left to increasingly family free, neo-gilded age San Francisco.
Such claims have been bolstered by the tech boom of the past few years — especially the explosion of social media firms in places like Manhattan and San Francisco. Yet longer-term trends in tech employment suggest such favored media memes will ultimately prove well off the mark. Indeed, according to an analysis by the Praxis Strategy Group, the fastest growth over the past decade in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related) employment has taken place not in the most fashionable cities but smaller, less dense metropolitan areas.