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What are the most Math/Stats-intensive planning jobs?


Hi all!

I'm a Math/Stats major wanting to apply my training to Urban/Regional Planning-- including data analysis and GIS and programming work as well.

What are typically the departments/jobs/positions in the Planning world that make best usage of these skills?

Thanks for any info!


I just do general planning, in other words you don't pay me to do math. I'm going to say look at transportation planning. Especially at the MPO level.
I have a certificate in GIS. I have historically searched for "GIS urban planning" or similar phrases.

I think this is a case where you basically need to read the job description and decide if this is more up your ally or not.

And check out the mother lode of planner job links here. I used to, for example, look at the APA national site and then look up regional offices and look at state specific sites for places I was interested in living.

You can also search for GIS jobs on regular job boards, like Monster Jobs.

Here is a general info piece about Math and Urban Planners.

WSU MUP Student

I work in the "Economic Development & Community Affairs" department of a large county. Our department contains planning, marketing, workforce development, business development, community & home improvement (CDBG stuff), and business finance groups. I am the research coordinator for all of those groups and while a lot of the research I do is compiling basic demographic stats or the like, I also build economic and fiscal impact models to project development impacts in terms of both the tax base and multipliers in other sectors. I also work with our local COG to help develop our regional employment, population, and household forecasts. I used to do quite a bit of work with ESRI's ArcGIS Network Analyst and Business Analyst licenses that involved a lot of stats but ESRI has made a lot of those functions much simpler over the past few years so there are others in the office who can do those tasks just as efficiently and they are usually better at making the maps and reports look nicer than I am ever able to do so I don't do this as often lately. I also provide our management and commissioners with various quarterly and annual reports tracking selected economic indicators and work on periodic workforce forecasts.

These are a couple of the more significant projects I routinely work on that involve quite a bit of math and statistics but there are plenty of others. I often get asked by other departments to work with them on their annual reports or other random projects that they need statistical help with. I have become the in-house expert on this type of subject matter and basically no press release, large report, bond renewal presentation, etc., from any department, gets published here without it passing by my eyes to verify the stats that are being used for timeliness, accuracy, and relevance. A big portion of my work boils down to being able to know all the different data sources and their differences and when to use each one.

FWIW, my background is not in stats or math specifically but I do have a graduate certificate in econometrics that I earned simultaneously with my MUP. I think my strength in this job isn't my math skills but rather my attention to detail and my ability to explain the various stats and complex methodologies to those higher up in the chain of command in a concise and easy to understand manner regardless of what their educational or professional backgrounds are.

If you want to be even more math and stats focused than what I do, I'd suggest looking at regional COGs. Since one of their primary focuses is on regional growth projections their research or data departments should have a couple of people on staff with more of a math and stats background. There are also some environmental jobs at places like engineering firms, your state's DNR/DEQ, or the Corps of Engineers that rely heavily on math and stats if you like the environmental side of things.