Personal finance website WalletHub drops its report on 2023’s Most and Least Innovative US States.
Using metrics to assess Research & Development spending per capita, as well as a share of STEM professionals, WalletHub’s new report compares the 50 states and the District of Columbia across a comprehensive 22 key metrics to highlight the U.S.’s most innovative states.
Measuring across two key dimensions, “Human Capital” and “Innovation Environment”, WalletHub are giving credit to the state leaders within the U.S. in categories including share of technology companies and average internet speed within states.
Across the U.S. yearly spending on R&D exceeds $600 million, more than any other country in the world and more than 25% of the world’s total. This has helped the nation rank second on the Global Innovation Index, behind only Switzerland.
The most innovative states in this era of tech supremacy are states which are continuing to grow innovation through investments in education, outreach, and business creation, especially in highly specialized industries.
Coming in at poll position at the U.S’s most innovative state against all 22 metrics is the District of Columbia, followed by Massachusetts, Washington, Maryland, and California. Mississippi sits at the bottom of the rankings, just below North Dakota and Louisiana.
The District of Columbia has the highest share of STEM professionals, 11.49 percent, which is 3.4 times higher than Mississippi, the lowest at 3.34 percent.
Extending its supremacy as a tech haven, the District of Columbia also stands at number one for the highest share of technology companies, scoring three times higher than South Dakota, the state that comes in last.
Washington and Maryland also make up the top three states with the highest share of STEM professionals.
Other important standouts include New Mexico’s position as the state with the highest research and development (R&D) intensity, which is 12 times higher than in Louisiana, the lowest. Utah and New Hampshire topped the tables for the best eighth-grade maths and science performance.
Alongside this data, WalletHub offers up key commentary from industry-leading experts. Responding to important questions such as “How can state policymakers encourage and ensure innovation?” and “What skills best equip individuals to be competitive in an ever-changing economic environment?”, the panel gives advice on stimulating innovation.
Experts include Bruce Bachenheimer, Clinical Professor of Management at Pace University, who encourages innovators to “think differently. Forget about typical job placement programs that focus on posting openings for unemployed individuals and concentrate on the hiring needs of firms.” “What types of skills do these organizations actually need and how can policymakers help facilitate the employment process?” he asks.
David L. Deeds, Professor of Entrepreneurship at The University of St. Thomas, highlights the imperative importance of “Investing in education, particularly K-12 but also at the University level.” He continues, “it is no accident that innovative ecosystems develop in states with strong education systems and research universities. These institutions build strong capable modern workforces that attract capital, and jobs and create innovations. The benefits do not happen overnight, in fact, they take years if not decades.”
Robin Feldman, Professor of Law and Director at the Center for Innovation, University of California, highlights the need to learn “to use emerging technology as a tool, rather than creating technology.” She understands that “many people will not want to shift from coal mining to data mining.” But she nonetheless insists that “knowing how to use Chat GPT to write a better resume and cover letter, as well as to perform better on the job, will be invaluable.”
Click here to read more about WalletHub’s Most & Least Innovative States of 2023.
Photo Credit: Aerial view of Georgetown, Washington, D.C