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LIST: America’s Most Innovative States. Where Does Yours Fall?


By Eric Lieberman

WalletHub, a personal finance website, released a report on the most innovative states in the U.S., providing a type of economic outlook for the various areas in the months and years ahead.

The researchers, composed of three educational institution leaders, compiled the list by using 18 different key metrics, including research and development (R&D) spending per capita, average internet speed, and highest proportion of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professionals.

What they found is that the most innovative state isn’t officially a state at all, as District of Columbia ranks the highest, with Maryland, Massachusetts, California, and Colorado following in succession.

As for the least innovative states, West Virginia is rated the lowest, and Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Oklahoma are respectively graded the worst in that order.

Here is the complete list:

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Maryland
  3. Massachusetts
  4. California
  5. Colorado
  6. Washington
  7. Virginia
  8. Utah
  9. Connecticut
  10. New Hampshire
  11. Oregon
  12. New Jersey
  13. Delaware
  14. Michigan
  15. Texas
  16. New York
  17. Arizona
  18. New Mexico
  19. Florida
  20. Minnesota
  21. Georgia
  22. Illinois
  23. North Carolina
  24. Rhode Island
  25. Alaska
  26. Pennsylvania
  27. Wyoming
  28. Vermont
  29. Nevada
  30. Ohio
  31. Montana
  32. Indiana
  33. Wisconsin
  34. Idaho
  35. Nebraska
  36. Alabama
  37. Hawaii
  38. Kansas
  39. Missouri
  40. Arkansas
  41. South Carolina
  42. Maine
  43. South Dakota
  44. Iowa
  45. Tennessee
  46. North Dakota
  47. Oklahoma
  48. Kentucky
  49. Louisiana
  50. Mississippi
  51. West Virginia

Source: WalletHub

Other factors that went into the algorithm were share of technology companies, in which Virginia ranked highest with 7.52 percent, 3.9 times higher than its neighbor West Virginia’s 1.95 percent rate, and “tax-friendliness.”

Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Florida, and Nevada are graded as having the best tax system, according to the Tax Foundation, which WalletHub cites. New Jersey, New York, California, Vermont, and Minnesota, in that order, rank as the “most complex, non-neutral” and business inhibitive tax systems.

“Drone-Friendly Laws” were also part of the larger grading method. (RELATED: Drone Delivery: Amazon Chose UK Over US Because Of Fewer Regulations)

But living in a state with relatively bleak innovation numbers doesn’t mean the state is completely void of an advanced economic infrastructure. As a country, the U.S. ranks fourth in the world on the Global Innovation Index.

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