Society

Map: The Most Common Jobs In America From Each State

| by Jonathan Wolfe

This just in: America employs a ton of truck drivers.

A map published by NPR this week shows the most common job in every state in America. In addition to showing the current most common jobs, NPR dug up some data showing America’s most common jobs in decades past.

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From 1978-2014, we see a lot of fluidity on the map. Farming used to be the most common occupation in eight states, but is now the most common in just two. The same goes for secretarial work. In 1984, secretary was the most common job in almost 30 states. Today, it claims that title in just five states. Both occupations can thank the rise of computers and machinery for their declines.

Truck drivers are the one constant on the map. During the map’s 36-year span, the title "truck driver" is the common job in no less than 6 states. In 2014, truck driver was the common occupation in nearly forty states.

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Two quick notes about the maps. First: they don’t count managerial or sales jobs. The Census Bureau labels these two occupations as “managers not elsewhere classified” and “salespersons not elsewhere classified,” and NPR found those categories too broad to provide any real insight. Second: the truck driver occupation doesn’t just represent semi-truck drivers. It also includes postal drivers, UPS drivers, and the like.

Here, courtesy of NPR, is a map showing the most common jobs in America in 1978. Below it you’ll find a map for the most common jobs in 1996, and below that a final one showing the data from 2014.

1978:

1996:

2014: 

Sources: NPR, Census Bureau / Photo Credit: Screenshot, WikiCommons