Here are the top 10 states that have produced the most current CEOs, according to new research

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Here are the top 10 states that have produced the most current CEOs, according to new research
Michael Dell is the chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies.Gary Miller/Getty Images
  • A new report shows which states are producing the most S&P 500 CEOs.
  • New York is a birthplace hotbed for CEOs, including the leaders of JP Morgan and American Express.
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The United States is brimming with CEOs — 200,480 to be exact. But before the start of their careers and prior to earning their prestigious titles, they each came from a hometown that helped shape the leaders they would become.

According to a new report by a California-based insurance company, Surety First, a majority of CEOs hail from a surprisingly narrow concentration of states. Using data from The Standard and Poor's 500 (S&P 500), Surety First shows which states are producing the most individuals that rise to the top of the corporate ladder.

New York topped the list by a wide margin with 22 CEOs, while runner-up Pennsylvania produced 11. A majority of the Empire State's top executives, including Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan and Stephen J. Squeri of American Express, come from the financial sector. California, which came in third place with 10 chief executives, is a birthplace hotbed for tech-industry CEOs, including Marc Benioff of Salesforce and Susan Wojcicki of YouTube.

A recent study suggests that CEOs' experiences in childhood — including family size, history of childhood trauma, and their parents' occupations and socioeconomic standing — all shape what kind of leaders they grow up to be. Several studies have examined the relationship between family birth order and who becomes a CEO, and an overwhelming number of them have concluded that first-born children are more likely to ascend to top leadership positions. Upbringing and background play a significant role in who winds up in the executive ranks, but research is limited in terms of investigating how birthplace influences who ascends the corporate latter.

In a preliminary step to examine the relationship between CEO birthplace and corporate ascension, Surety First looked at the 700 largest US-based companies, in terms of market cap, to determine which states are producing the most top CEOs. Its analysis, compiled in March 2022, accounts for only current, active chief executives at the time Surety First gathered the data.

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Birthplace aside, the CEO profile across the most prominent US companies still skews heavily white and male. A separate analysis of the 279 top executives listed at the 50 most prominent companies in the S&P 100 shows a gross underrepresentation of diverse leadership. Less than 2% of top executives at the 50 largest companies are Black. Diversity experts attribute this to a range of factors, including racist hiring practices, lack of sponsorship, and non-inclusive workplaces blocking Black and brown employees, especially Black and brown women, from moving up the corporate ladder. For systemic reasons beyond the scope of research conducted by Surety First, top S&P 500 CEOs mirror the lack of diversity that plagues corporate America as a whole.

Here are the top 10 US states that have produced the most current S&P 500 CEOs:

New York (22)

Here are the top 10 states that have produced the most current CEOs, according to new research
Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon, was born in Scarsdale, NY.Dan DeLong/GeekWire

Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon, was born in Scarsdale, New York. The e-commerce chief, who replaced Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2021, received $212,701,169 in total compensation that year, according to a proxy statement.

Pennsylvania (11)

Here are the top 10 states that have produced the most current CEOs, according to new research
Brian L. Roberts, CEO of Comcast, was born in Philadelphia.Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Brian L. Roberts, the CEO of Comcast, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Comcast disclosed nearly $34 million in 2021 compensation for its chair and CEO, a 4% increase from $32.7 million in 2020 according to The Hollywood Reporter.

California (10)

Here are the top 10 states that have produced the most current CEOs, according to new research
Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, was born in Los Angeles.Jonathan Wong/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, was born in Los Angeles, California. The investment-management firm chief recieved a total pay of $36 million for 2021, a 21% increase over the previous year, according to Bloomberg.

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Ohio (9)

Here are the top 10 states that have produced the most current CEOs, according to new research
Chris Kempczinski, CEO of McDonald's, was born in Cincinnati.Richa Naidu | Reuters

Chris Kempczinski, the CEO of McDonald's, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. The fast-food-chain chief, who replaced long-standing CEO Steve Easterbrook in late 2019, made $10.8 million in total compensation in 2021 according to Nation's Restaurant News.

Massachusetts (7)

Here are the top 10 states that have produced the most current CEOs, according to new research
Karen Lynch, CEO of CVS Health, was born in Ware, Massachusetts.Courtesy of Comparably

Karen Lynch, the CEO of CVS Health, was born in Ware, Massachusetts. In its annual proxy, CVS reported nearly $20.4 million in total compensation for Lynch, who became CEO in February 2021.

Michigan (7)

Here are the top 10 states that have produced the most current CEOs, according to new research
Craig Menear, CEO of Home Depot, was born in Flint, Michigan.MSU Broad College of Business/Youtube

Craig Menear, the CEO of Home Depot, was born in Flint, Michigan. As the chair of the board and chief executive officer of the home-improvement chain, Menear receives a reported annual total compensation of $10,889,800 according to Wallmine.

Texas (7)

Here are the top 10 states that have produced the most current CEOs, according to new research
Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Technologies, was born in Houston.Dell Technologies

Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell Technologies, was born in Houston, Texas. With a reported net worth of $50.2 billion, Dell is ranked among Forbes' top 50 wealthiest people in the world. Last year, the tech exec took a significant pay cut with a total compensation of $930,400 from $3.36 million in 2020 as reported by The Channel Company.

Indiana (5)

Here are the top 10 states that have produced the most current CEOs, according to new research
David Ricks, chairman and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company, is from Indiana.Reuters/Caroline Humer

David Ricks, the chair and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company, is from Indiana. The drug manufacturer's CEO made $21.5 million in compensation for 2021, a decrease of 9% from the $23.7 million he made in 2020, according to a proxy filing.

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New Jersey (5)

Here are the top 10 states that have produced the most current CEOs, according to new research
Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Tom Fanning was born in Morristown, NJ.Energy and Policy institute

Tom Fanning, the chair, president, and CEO of Southern Company, was born in Morristown, New Jersey. Last year, the energy executive took home $16.6 million in annual compensation according to Salary.com data.

Tennessee (5)

Here are the top 10 states that have produced the most current CEOs, according to new research
Carl Douglas McMillon, CEO of Walmart, was born in Memphis, TN.CNBC Contributor/ Getty Images

Carl Douglas McMillon, the CEO of Walmart was born in Memphis, Tennessee. When he was 16, his family moved to "the birthplace of Walmart" — Bentonville, Arkansas. During the summer, McMillon worked at the Walmart distribution center unloading trucks. Last year, the CEO earned a reported $22 million in salary.

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