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Who makes $200K?: Here are the Baltimore industries with the most high earners

The health and education industries are the bedrock of professionals making over $200,000 in 2019, data shows. See how industries compare and has shifted over time. It's the latest from our data-driven reporting series on incomes and wealth.

The Baltimore harbor. (Photo by ActionVance on Unsplash)

This report is part of a multi-market, data-driven series on how tech economies are growing wealth in U.S. cities.

For most people that live in Baltimore, the answer to the question of what industries have the highest concentrations of those making over $200,000 in Baltimore may seem obvious: eds, meds and even feds.

But what might be lesser known is how recently and drastically education rose to the top of the list.

In a reporting series on tech careers and mobility, is working with a data journalist to take a look at the data behind high earners — specifically, those making $200,000, because that’s the threshold required to become an accredited angel investor. In Baltimore, it illuminated a rise in the percentage of Black people making $200,000 in the city, despite a falling population. (Check out the methodology on GitHub.).

The data also looks at the industries in Baltimore with the most high-earners a decade apart — 2009 and 2019. These changes may give insight on industries of opportunity that may need more support to grow. We break it down below.

Here are Baltimore’s top industries for earners over $200,000 in 2009:

Baltimore’s top industries for earners making $200,000 or more in 2009. (Table by

Data from 2019 showed a shift:

Baltimore’s top-earning industries in 2019. (Table by

Hospitals as a whole have stayed as the top industry for high earners throughout the decade. What’s changed is the fall of legal services and securities industries and the rise of the higher ed sector.

Colleges, universities and professional schools doubled their percentage of over-$200,000 earners, going from 5.84% to 10.38%.

Computer systems design and related services, which is the main software-focused category, fell one spot from 2009 to 2019. Even while it maintained a similar share of those who make $200,000, it’s coming dangerously close out of the top ten. However, software isn’t the only area where Baltimore’s tech talent is working, the rise of telehealth and growing companies formed out of inistutions like Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, show that Baltimore is poised to meld the historical strength of the health industry with the wave of innovation.

Meanwhile, the fall of medical equipment and supplies from #6 in 2009 to dropping out of the top 20 list of industries in 2019 illustrates an area that lost significant share.

The data also broke down the broad categories in which the high-earners worked.

Data showed more than half of Baltimore high earners in 2019 worked for the federal government. (Table by

Regardless of industry, 78% of high earners making $200,000 worked in government in 2019, per the data. When considering How to Get a Tech Job, the breakdown of sectors is a reminder that the Googles, Microsofts and Facebooks of the world aren’t the only places where professionals can make six figures. You can do it making a difference in local government, and, as the state takes a bigger role in tech and cybersecurity, there will be even more opportunities to leverage the high, stable pay of government work.

Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
Series: Who makes $200K? Tech careers, race and economic mobility in American cities

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