Economy Watch: The Most Innovative States of 2018

States that come out on top of the list also tend to have hot office markets in some of their metros, fueled by demand from tech and other innovation-oriented firms, a WalletHub study reported.

By D.C. Stribling, Contributing Editor

Source: WalletHub

Massachusetts is the most innovative state in the nation, according to a recent study by WalletHub. Maryland, Washington state, the District of Columbia and California rounded out the top five. To rank the states in innovation, the company compared the 50 states and D.C. across 22 key indicators of innovation-friendliness.

Among the metrics considered in the rankings, WalletHub used the share of STEM professionals in the workforce, projected STEM-job demand by 2020, share of tech companies per total companies, R&D spending per capita, invention patents per capita, net in-migration, average Internet speed, and venture-capital funding per capita, among others.

In 2018, the U.S. will spend an estimated $553 billion on research and development—more than any other country in the world and over a quarter of the global total. Knowledge and technology outputs are America’s particular strengths, but the pace of innovation isn’t evenly distributed across the country.

The top states continue to grow innovation through investments in education, research and business creation, especially in highly specialized industries, according to WalletHub. States that come out on top also trend to have hot office markets in some of their metros, driven by the demand from tech and other innovation-oriented companies, such as in Boston, Seattle, Washington D.C., and San Jose.

At the other end of the spectrum, reports WalletHub, the least innovative states in the country include Mississippi at No. 51. Going up from there are Louisiana,West Virginia, Arkansas and Tennessee.