Pew Research Center Publishes H1B Statistics from FY 2010-2016

Wendy Barlow's picture

On March 29, 2018, the Pew Research Center published interesting statistics on the H1B program titled “East Coast and Texas metros had the most H-1B visas for skilled workers from 2010 to 2016.”1

The report looked at H1B visa approvals from fiscal year 2010 through fiscal year 2016, and broke down the numbers by metropolitan area. In this article, we will briefly examine some of the most interesting findings in the report.

In total, Pew found that over 859,600 H1B applications were approved over the period covered. 29% of all H1B visa approvals from 2010 to 2016 were for petitions filed by employers in the New York-Newark-Jersey City (NY-NJ-PA) metropolitan area. Coming in at second was the Dallas- Fort Worth-Arlington (Tx) metropolitan area with 74,000 H1B approvals. The Washington-Arlington-Alexandria (DC-VA-MD-WV) metropolitan area was third with 64,800 approvals. No other metropolitan area had over 38,300. The discrepancy in raw numbers between New York and all other metropolitan areas is unsurprising when considering the fact that the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area is the largest metropolitan area in the United States by a wide margin. In total, Pew found that over 859,600 H1B visa were approved over the period covered.

While the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area had the highest number of total H1B approvals, it was only fourth in terms of H1B approvals per 100 workers, coming in with 2.501 approvals per 100. The College Station-Bryan (Tx) metropolitan registered 31.847 H1B approvals per 100 workers, which not only led the country but was over 6.5 times as many approvals per 100 workers as the metropolitan area that came in second, Trenton (NJ) (4.857 approvals per 100 workers).

In total, foreign workers who were approved for H1B visas earned an average of $80,600 from 2010-2016. The Bridgeport-Stamfort-Norwalk (CT) metropolitan area led the country with an average salary of $100,200 for its 6,300 H1B approvals. Among the six metropolitan areas with at least 30,000 H1B approvals, the Boston-Cambridge-Newton (MA-NH) metropolitan area had the highest average salary at $88,100. The New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area saw its H1B approvals earn an average of $80,000.

The Pew article found that 49% of H1B approvals were for foreign workers with an advanced degree earned either in the United States or abroad. The vast majority of these advanced degrees were earned abroad. Erie (PA) saw the most approvals with advanced degrees at 75% of its 700 approvals. Among the six metropolitan areas with at least 30,000 H1B approvals, the Boston-Cambridge-Newton metropolitan area had the highest number of approvals with advanced degrees in total (61%) and advanced degrees from the United States (20%). The numbers for the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area were 47% and 13% respectively. The San Diego-Carlsbad (CA) metropolitan area had the highest number of approvals with U.S. advanced degrees, coming in at 28% out of 1,800 H1B approvals.

Those who are interested in reading more should see the original article for Pew's detailed charts and analysis. Interestingly, Pew's data shows that the majority of H1B approvals from 2010-2016 were concentrated in East Coast and Texas metropolitan areas. This finding may come as a surprise to some who primarily associate the H1B program with Silicon Valley in California.

Petitioners and beneficiaries should consult with an experienced immigration attorney for case-specific guidance on specific H1B cases. This counsel is especially important in light of recent changes made by the Trump Administration to more carefully scrutinize H1B petitions.

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  1. Ruiz, Neil G. and Jens Manuel Krogstad. “East Coast and Texas metros had the most H-1B visas for skilled workers from 2010 to 2016.” Pew Research Center. Mar. 30, 2018. https://pewrsr.ch/2J3n8JH
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Pew Research Center Publishes H1B Statistics from FY 2010-2016