These are the most and least innovative states for 2017

Connecticut, Virginia, and Maryland are all in the top 10 most innovative states, but none of them were able to claim the number one spot.

March 24, 2017 |

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Personal finance website WalletHub has recently determined which U.S. states have contributed most to America’s innovative success and which have been lacking.

The site analyzed the states (and the District of Columbia) across 18 key metrics such as share of STEM professionals, scientific knowledge output, eighth grade math and science performance, R&D spending per capita, tax friendliness, and average internet speed.

Below are some of the highlights from the analysis followed by the ten most and least innovative states:


  • The District of Columbia has the highest share of STEM professionals, 9.4 percent, 2.8 times higher than in Mississippi and Nevada, which have the lowest at 3.3 percent each.
  • Virginia has the highest share of technology companies, 7.52 percent, 3.9 times higher than in West Virginia, which has the lowest at 1.95 percent.
  • New Mexico has the highest research and development (R&D) intensity, 6.31 percent, 19.7 times higher than in Wyoming, which has the lowest at 0.32 percent.
  • The District of Columbia has the fastest average Internet speed, 22.47 Mbps, 2.1 times faster than in Idaho, which has the slowest at 10.65 Mbps.
  • The District of Columbia has the highest share of public high-school students who completed advanced-placement (AP) exams, 60.2 percent, 4.4 times higher than in North Dakota, which has the lowest at 13.8 percent. 


Most Innovative States

1. District of Columbia

2. Maryland

3. Massachusetts

4. California

5. Colorado

6. Washington

7. Virginia

8. Utah

9. Connecticut

10. New Hampshire


Least Innovative States

42. Maine

43. South Dakota

44. Iowa

45. Tennessee

46. North Dakota

47. Oklahoma

48. Kentucky

49. Louisiana

50. Mississippi

51. West Virginia


For the full list and an in-depth look at the methodology, click here.

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