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Mapped: Average Internship Salary By U.S. State in 2022



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A map of the hourly internship pay in each U.S. state.

Mapping The Best Places to Intern in the U.S.

Modern day internships vary wildly by industry, covering anything from coffee runs to working on high-profile projects, and from 90-hour weeks to part-time jobs.

The internship salaries offered also vary wildly by both location and industry. Some are full-time paid positions, others are unpaid, “for the experience” gigs.

Bringing some transparency into the ever-changing internship world, CashNetUSA sourced data in 2022 from listings on Chegg Internships and Zippia, creating a database of internship salary rates by hourly pay across state and sector.

The Highest Average Internship Salary by State

Across the 50 states in the U.S., three stand out above the competition when it comes to the average internship salaries.

Interns in Washington, California, and Connecticut were offered more than $20 an hour, nearly $5 more than minimum wage in each of these states.

StateHourly Rate
New York$18.38
West Virginia$17.82
North Dakota$17.65
New Hampshire$17.09
New Jersey$16.42
Rhode Island$15.85
South Dakota$15.21
North Carolina$14.68
South Carolina$12.44
New Mexico$12.03

On the lower side, internships in Wyoming, New Mexico, and Louisiana pay around $12/hour.

Part of the discrepancy in these figures is the cost of living for each state, with the more expensive coastal states paying more than their interior peers.

Six of the states with the highest average internship salary rates (California, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Oregon, and Massachusetts) are the most expensive states to live in. The reverse is also true, with some of the lowest-paying states matching a lower cost of living.

When adjusting for cost of living, the internship pays in Washington and West Virginia come out better than average.

Sectors With the Best Paid Internships

Looking at the states with the best internship pay also helps highlight the specific sectors which pay their interns well.

Unsurprisingly, tech internships mainly in California and Washington pay the best ($19.77), followed by the finance sector mainly in New York ($18.10).

This graphic lists the sectors with the highest average hourly pay for internships in the U.S.

Both industries are, of course, well-known for high pay packages for their employees. They’re on the opposite side of the spectrum from government internships, which rank last despite coveted D.C. positions paying fairly well.

States with the Most Unpaid Internships

Getting an internship doesn’t guarantee pay, and average hourly pay means little in states which have mostly unpaid interns.

In Delaware for example, nearly one-third of internships are unpaid despite otherwise boasting a high average pay.

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A map of the U.S. listing the rate of unpaid internships by state.

New York, Oregon, New Mexico, California, and New Jersey all had nearly one-fourth of their listed internships as unpaid.

Meanwhile, the outer Midwest states, including Nebraska and Colorado, have some of the lowest unpaid internship rates of anywhere in the country. In Kansas, despite having some of the lowest internship pay, only 4.2% of internships were unpaid.

Sectors with the Most Unpaid Internships

The finance sector—also the second highest paying—is notorious for rigorous internships, but nearly one-third of listed finance internships were posted with no pay, and only experience.

That’s nearly twice the rate of the second-most unpaid internship sector: retail.

This graphic lists the sectors with the highest rate of unpaid internships in the U.S.

Interestingly, the tech sector had the second-fewest unpaid internships, despite paying the highest hourly rate. Only manufacturing has fewer unpaid internships.

A majority of students surveyed from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that those who took unpaid internships had a slightly higher positive correlation in networking than a paid internship. However, they also had a negative correlation with both employment and salary satisfaction.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Where are Immigrant Founders of U.S. Unicorns From?

The majority of billion-dollar startups in the U.S. have at least one immigrant founder. Here is where those founders are from.



u.s. startup founders from other countries

Where are Immigrant Founders of U.S. Unicorns From?

The majority of U.S. unicorns—private startups worth more than $1 billion—have at least one immigrant founder, according to the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).

While some of the companies and founders are well known, like SpaceX from South Africa’s Elon Musk, hundreds of lesser-known unicorns have been founded from the top talent of just a handful of countries.

This visual using NFAP data lays out the countries which are home to the most U.S. billion-dollar startup founders as of May 2022.

Note: These rankings are based on unicorn valuations as of May 2022. As valuations regularly fluctuate, some companies may have gained or lost unicorn status since that time.

Countries with the Most U.S. Unicorn Founders

Here’s a look at the countries that these immigrant founders come from.

The 382 founders accounted for below have combined to start 319 of 582 U.S.-based unicorns.

RankCountry# Founders of
U.S. Unicorns
1🇮🇳 India66
2🇮🇱 Israel54
3🇬🇧 United Kingdom27
4🇨🇦 Canada22
5🇨🇳 China21
6🇫🇷 France18
7🇩🇪 Germany15
8🇷🇺 Russia11
9🇺🇦 Ukraine10
10🇮🇷 Iran8
11🇦🇺 Australia7
T12🇮🇹 Italy6
T12🇳🇬 Nigeria6
T12🇵🇱 Poland6
T12🇷🇴 Romania6
T16🇦🇷 Argentina5
T16🇧🇷 Brazil5
T16🇳🇿 New Zealand5
T16🇵🇰 Pakistan5
T16🇰🇷 South Korea5
T21🇩🇰 Denmark4
T21🇵🇹 Portugal4
T21🇪🇸 Spain4
T24🇧🇾 Belarus3
T24🇧🇬 Bulgaria3
T24🇮🇪 Ireland3
T24🇰🇪 Kenya3
T24🇱🇧 Lebanon3
T24🇵🇭 Philippines3
T24🇿🇦 South Africa3
T24🇹🇼 Taiwan3
T24🇹🇷 Turkey3
T33🇦🇲 Armenia2
T33🇨🇿 Czech Republic2
T33🇬🇷 Greece2
T33🇲🇽 Mexico2
T33🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia2
T33🇸🇬 Singapore2
T33🇨🇭 Switzerland2
T33🇺🇿 Uzbekistan2
T41🇦🇹 Austria1
T41🇧🇩 Bangladesh1
T41🇧🇧 Barbados1
T41🇨🇴 Colombia1
T41🇩🇴 Dominican Republic1
T41🇪🇬 Egypt1
T33🇬🇪 Georgia1
T41🇮🇶 Iraq1
T41🇯🇴 Jordan1
T41🇱🇻 Latvia1
T41🇱🇹 Lithuania1
T41🇲🇹 Malta1
T41🇲🇦 Morocco1
T41🇳🇱 Netherlands1
T41🇳🇴 Norway1
T41🇵🇪 Peru1
T41🇶🇦 Qatar1
T41🇸🇮 Slovenia1
T41🇻🇪 Venezuela1

Far in the lead is India with 66 startup founders and Israel with 54 startup founders. Together, they account for 31% of all unicorn founders listed. In fact, more than half of the immigrant unicorn founders came from just six countries: India, Israel, the UK, Canada, China, and France.

These immigrant founders have helped found many of the world’s biggest startups:

  • Stripe was co-founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison
  • Instacart’s founder and former CEO, Apoorva Mehta, was born in India, then moved to Libya and Canada as a child.
  • Big data startup Databricks was founded by a group of seven computer scientists from the University of California, including five immigrants from Iran, Romania, and China.
  • Immigration and Entrepreneurship

    Though some of these founders came to the U.S. as successful business leaders, the report noted that many immigrated as children or international students.

    In addition, there are another 51 founders (not included in the above statistics) that were not immigrants themselves but are first-generation Americans born to immigrant parents. Data from the report also shows that 80% of unicorns have an immigrant in some key role, whether it’s as a founder, a C-level executive, or some other crucial position.

    Even historically, some of the biggest companies in the U.S. were not founded by Americans. For example, the founders of Procter & Gamble emigrated from England and Ireland in the early 1800s. And today, one of the biggest companies in the U.S. is NVIDIA, which recently broached a trillion dollar market cap and whose founder is from Taiwan.

    The Ever-Changing Unicorn Landscape

    While this dataset is from mid-2022, it should be noted that the startup ecosystem has shifted drastically in just the last year.

    Rapidly rising interest rates and a slowdown in venture capital have conspired to create a more precarious fundraising environment, leading to down rounds and stagnation for some of these billion-dollar companies.

    In Q1 2023, unicorn births declined 89%, suggesting that in upcoming years the unicorn list—and the number of immigrant founders—may be subject to change.

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