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January 19, 2016

New Jersey and Delaware make list of top 10 most innovative states

U.S. Innovation Index ranks Jersey at #4 and Delaware #9 in the nation while Pennsylvania lags behind

Business Innovation
Liberty Science Center Bernadette Marciniak/Wikipedia

The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Pennsylvania will have to take a page out of Ben Franklin's book if it wants to beat its neighbors in inventiveness, according to a new ranking of the most innovative states in America.

Bloomberg's U.S. Innovation Index, which ranks states on how much of their economy is devoted to science and technology, proved that there are plenty of Poindexters in New Jersey and Delaware. Those states ranked fourth and ninth, respectively, on the list. Pennsylvania came in at No. 22.

These are the metrics that mattered in Bloomberg's rankings:

  1. R&D: how much of the state's GDP (gross domestic product) is spent on research and development
  2. Productivity: the state's GDP divided by the number of employed people
  3. High-tech density: the percent of public companies in the state that work in high-tech fields like aerospace, software or biotechnology
  4. STEM: the share of workers who have jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math
  5. Education: the percent of the population with science or engineering degrees
  6. Inventions: how many utility patents granted in the state, per million people

Delaware could have ranked higher if it didn't get a below-average score for tech density. That's doesn't necessarily mean the state, legal home to half of all publicly-traded companies in the U.S, isn't innovative. There are just so many other kinds of businesses in the state that tech doesn't rank very high.

On the other hand, New Jersey scored as the fifth-best state in the nation for tech density. Combine a highly-educated population with powerful companies like Lockheed Martin, Johnson & Johnson and Merck, and it turns out that the Garden State ranks only two steps behind Silicon Valley.

Massachusetts topped the list, followed by California, Washington, New Jersey and Connecticut. Mississippi fell to the very bottom, along with West Virginia, South Dakota, Arkansas and Louisiana.

See the full list here.