The Best Major-City Areas to Live and Work in Life Sciences

At DataCeutics, like at so many companies today, the bulk of our employees work remotely from their home offices. We are a Functional Service Provider of SAS Programmers, Data Managers, and Statisticians, and for us, the off-premise work environment model has worked incredibly well, for over two decades. Our programmers, data managers, and statisticians appreciate the flexibility of work hours, savings in travel time and costs, and they enjoy having more time to be productive, and more time to enjoy life. They also get to live wherever they choose to reside.


In an earlier blog, Seven Advantages of Hiring Remote Workers, we wrote about some of the benefits that this type of structure affords companies, and we explored the challenges of working remotely from the employees’ perspective in Creating a Culture of Inclusion for Remote Workers. Today, we are doing a little digging to find out what the best major-city areas are to live in, for those that work in Life Sciences, and asking, “why”? We’re also curious to survey our staff to find out how many of them actually live in these Hotbeds of our industry.


1. At the top of our list is the Boston-Cambridge area known as Genetown. According to the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, there were almost 58,000 biopharma employees in Massachusetts 6 years ago, and surely that number has gone up in recent years. The council reported that “Massachusetts has the highest educated workforce in the United States, ranking 1st in the nation, in percentage of residents with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher.”


In addition to its rich history, the state of Massachusetts is considered the epicenter of academia and science, and Genetown is one of the most desired pieces of real estate in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Boston and its surrounding areas have been home to start-up and veteran companies alike, often led by graduates of their renown schools. In fact, two of the most successful biotech corporations – Biogen Idec, Inc. and Genzyme General, are both headquartered in Cambridge, MA, referred to by many as the center of the biotech hub. Boston is home to about 82,000 life science professionals and is rated as one of the world’s best places to find top-notch life science talent.


There are 3,109* life sciences companies in the Genetown region, and residents in this field enjoy the multitude of theatre, museums and sports events offered in this area. It’s easy to see why this region is always popping up in lists for biotech growth potential. Interestingly, only three percent of our remote workers at DataCeutics reside in Massachusetts.


 2. Next, we explore Biotech Bay in San Francisco, California If something is going on in technology, odds are it’s happening in this part of the world. But not only are technological advances taking place, pharma/biotech has been booming here for quite some time. The Bay Area is home to 27% of all life sciences employment in the state of California, led by the powerhouse companies like AbbVie, Amgen, Gilead and Merck. In addition to the thriving employment rate in the city, San Francisco is producing 1,065 life sciences PhD graduates each year, which is second highest in the United States.


A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle reported that life science wages have lowered slightly in the Bay Area, but it is possible that they are hiring younger, less experienced workers with the number of jobs always increasing – great news for newer graduates looking to get their first job in the industry. Regardless, the Bay Area is alive and well, leading California in nearly every life sciences employment and investment statistic. Alameda, Berkeley, Palo Alto, San Jose and Sunnyvale are also nearby areas that add to the growing economy of the Bay Area.


Seven percent of our employees work out of California. where there are 3,418* life sciences companies in Biotech Bay.


3. The BioCapital encompasses Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC. Politics aside, the BioCapitalTM Hotbed community ranks third as a leader in the life sciences industry. What’s incredible about this region is that it has the second-most biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies of all the major groups. Eight percent of our workers at DataCeutics are from the BioCapital area. There are 9,881* life science companies in this region and 112,880* life science workers.


According to the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, Maryland’s 2,000+ life sciences businesses generate almost $17 billion in economic activity and are experiencing rapid job growth. Maryland is also home to the high-ranking John Hopkins University.


Virginia. also known as “The Mother of Presidents,” with eight U.S. presidents born there (more than any other state), has some incredible colleges and universities, where hopefuls could get their start. The University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary, Virginia Tech and George Mason University are all ranked very high in the industry.


Delaware and Washington DC have a plethora of job openings in the industry and are popular destinations for meetings and conferences. There are many opportunities to wind down the work week. The nation’s capital has much to offer with all of its historic monuments, wonderful museums, and other notable sites.



4. Southern California’s Los Angeles and San Diego areas are also called Biotech Beach. Beautiful weather, coupled with tons of beaches, make this a very desirable area to settle in. Some of the best life sciences and research companies like Amgen, Eli Lilly, and Acadia Pharmaceuticals, call this area home. In addition to 3,418* life science companies, Biotech Beach is also home to 25 research institutions, universities, and colleges.


San Diego’s life sciences industry has grown 20% over the past five years - Jones Lang LaSallie, Inc. reports that life sciences employment grew at a faster rate in this region than total private employment. Fantastic areas like Carlsbad, Irvine, and La Jolla – all boast notable companies. Seven percent of DataCeutics team members call California home.



5. Rounding out our top 5 best large city areas to live for life science workers is what is known as Pharm CountryTM: Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. It turns out that the majority (31%!) of our major city-dwelling employees are from Pharm Country!


New York City is the largest city in the U.S. and is a mecca of entertainment for its residents, offering Broadway plays, exquisite museums, beautiful parks, and professional sports teams. It is also an emerging life sciences center and home to about 14,000 life science professionals. In November 2016, the city announced a 10-year, $500 million deal to establish NYC as a global leader in life science R&D and innovation.


Neighboring New Jersey has around 10,000 farms spanning over nearly 800,000 acres of beautiful farmland. The Garden State is also home to some of the largest corporations in the industry, including Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Novartis.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has the fifth highest population of US cities. It’s 90 colleges and universities provide plenty of talent for over 1,600 life sciences companies. There are 19,019* life science companies in the Pharm Country region.

*Bureau of Labor and Statistics