March 23, 2017 Last Updated 8:55 am

Wallethub analysis seeks to determine 2017’s most and least innovative states

The report from the personal-finance website comes as the new president has proposed deep cuts to federal research and development in the 2018 budget

The website Wallethub today published their results a study that looked to rank the states that they considered the most and least innovative. Based on two criteria, Human Capital and Innovation Environment, as well as 18 metrics, the report finds that certain states “continue to foster innovation through investments in education, research and business creation, especially in highly specialized industries,” while others lag far behind.

The results finds many of the states you would think near the top, such as California or Massachusetts, predictably there. The District of Columbia, which is included in the report, ranks number one based on the district’s “Human Capital” rank.

“In order to give credit to the states that have contributed the most to America’s innovative success, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 18 key metrics,” said Diana Popa, WalletHub Communications Manager. “The data set ranges from share of STEM professionals to R&D spending per capita to average Internet speed.”

“For a number of reasons, certain areas are not as receptive to growth and innovation as others,” said Wayne Hockwarter, Jim Moran Professor of Management at Florida State University. “I see clear examples where “politicalization” has gotten in the way of development. Simply put, not all areas want to grow because “the established ones in power” begin to lose control. “Why would we want to have a tech firm with 3000 employees here when things are just fine the way they have been for the past 50 years” is a philosophy communicated to me several times over the years.”

Catherine I. Beaton, Associate Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, believes education is at the core of the problem regarding innovation in the US.

“While the USA scores well in traditional indicators for innovativeness, we’re missing out on education, energy efficiency, and in economy-wide investment and productivity critical to future growth which are the ones I feel are very important,” Beaton said.

“Reality dictates that money is needed. Venture Capital gets the ideas / innovations into tangible products or processes. And we need some sort of framework to support the ideas / innovations becoming products or processes.”

For Paul Oyer, The Fred H. Merrill Professor of Economics at Stanford University, he sees policymakers falling back on traditional solutions such as retraining, when attempting to come up with solutions to job loss.

“This is, unfortunately, another example of an area where policymakers do not have a great track record,” Oyer said. “After every shock to some traditional industry, there are always large amounts of resources put into very well-meaning efforts to retrain workers to take on new skills. But this is often an exercise in frustration because, for example, a 40-year-old man with a high school education who loses a steel production job is unlikely to ever find another position where he can be as productive as he was in that job. Retraining is extremely costly both because education requires large amounts of resources and because there can be very large costs to the students who have to learn things they don’t particularly enjoy. There are some excellent cases of people retraining and coming out happier and more productive, but those tend to be people who did not know they had better opportunities all along.”

For more information on the study, including methodology and more analysis, visit the Wallethub website.

Here are the state rankings:

Overall Rank State WalletHub State Innovation Index ‘Human Capital’ Rank ‘Innovation Environment’ Rank
1 District of Columbia 70.87 1 7
2 Maryland 69.82 2 1
3 Massachusetts 69.65 3 2
4 California 62.46 6 3
5 Colorado 59.33 7 5
6 Washington 57.44 5 8
7 Virginia 56.96 4 11
8 Utah 52.43 14 4
9 Connecticut 49.25 8 12
10 New Hampshire 48.43 19 6
11 Oregon 48.18 13 9
12 New Jersey 47.28 12 10
13 Delaware 46.16 9 17
14 Michigan 45.01 11 18
15 Texas 44.01 10 20
16 New York 42.77 22 14
17 Arizona 42.38 21 16
18 New Mexico 42.03 27 13
19 Florida 41.54 18 19
20 Minnesota 40.26 17 24
21 Georgia 39.88 23 22
22 Illinois 38.65 15 26
23 North Carolina 38.61 16 25
24 Rhode Island 37.95 20 28
25 Alaska 37.11 26 27
26 Pennsylvania 37.09 24 29
27 Wyoming 36.46 31 23
28 Vermont 36.04 25 32
29 Nevada 34.67 45 15
30 Ohio 34.59 28 35
31 Montana 34.51 38 21
32 Indiana 34.06 29 37
33 Wisconsin 32.98 30 42
34 Idaho 32.37 33 31
35 Nebraska 31.44 39 30
36 Alabama 31.19 32 40
37 Hawaii 30.94 34 36
38 Kansas 30.21 40 34
39 Missouri 29.88 42 33
40 Arkansas 29.25 35 44
41 South Carolina 28.29 36 47
42 Maine 27.74 37 48
43 South Dakota 27.12 46 38
44 Iowa 26.88 43 46
45 Tennessee 26.37 44 45
46 North Dakota 26.11 48 39
47 Oklahoma 25.97 47 43
48 Kentucky 25.79 41 49
49 Louisiana 21.49 49 50
50 Mississippi 21.30 51 41
51 West Virginia 20.05 50 51
Home page photo: Magnetospheric Multiscale by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

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