States of Invention


Research from the Kaufman Foundation looks for the areas of innovation across the US while publishing abroad New Economy Index. From the 2010 edition come a number of detailed statistics.  The top overall states will draw the most attention, yet more interesting are some of the smaller details.

Here, then, are my top five categories (in no particular order) from the Kaufman report, and a listing of the top five states in each group.

  • High-Wage Traded Services: Not a familiar category, this measures employment in traded service sectors where the average wage exceeds the national median — in other words, who has the most high-end service jobs when one does not have to buy local. Top States: Delaware, Connecticut, New York, California, Minnesota. 

  • Job Churning: If one believes in creative destruction, linger here. The category measures the combined number of new startups and business failures as a share of total state firms. Top States: Florida, Alaska, Idaho, Georgia, Colorado.

  • Entrepreneurial Activity: More simply, the number of entrepreneurs starting new businesses. Top States: Georgia, Arizona, Montana, Florida, California.

  • Inventor Patents: The number of independent patents per 1,000 residents.  Top States: Utah, Oregon, California, Massachusetts, Connecticut.

  • Venture Capital: This measures venture capital invested in the state as a percentage of worker earnings.  Unsurprisingly, the top two states for VC, which captured over two-thirds of all venture investment in 2010, dominate – even when adjusted for populations and earnings. Top States: Massachusetts, California, Washington, Colorado, Utah.