These are the 10 most innovative states in the U.S.

California is among the most innovative states in the U.S.

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California is among the most innovative states in the U.S.
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Richard Thornton/Shutterstock

The U.S. is often credited as one of the most innovative countries in the world, but that doesn’t mean its innovation and technological pursuits are divided equally around the country.

Innovative concepts and burgeoning tech often finds its start in major cities like New York and San Francisco, while middle-of-the-country states are attempting to play catch-up.

Financial advisor website WalletHub recently compiled a list ranking innovation in each of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. It’s no surprise that the top 10 on the list include states with major tech epicenters, and states that have long attracted headquarters of major tech companies who, in turn, attract top tech talent.

WalletHub’s rankings are based on two dozen metrics divided into two categories: human capital and innovation environment.

Human capital comprises units like states’ share of STEM professionals, projected STEM job demand in 2020, and performance and participation in high school-level math and science exams. Meanwhile, innovation environment includes metrics weighing each state’s share of companies that are technology-oriented, the level of research and development, the number of jobs in new companies, and each place’s tax friendliness.

These are the 10 most innovative states in the U.S., according to WalletHub:


10. Oregon

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Portland, Oregon.
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Josemaria Toscano/Shutterstock

WalletHub State Innovation Index: 53.82 (out of 100-point scale)

Human Capital rank: 12 (out of 51 U.S states & D.C.)

Innovation Environment rank: 8 (out of 51 U.S states & D.C.)


9. Delaware

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Wilmington, Delaware.
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Paul Brady Photography/Shutterstock

WalletHub State Innovation Index: 55.63 (out of 100)

Human Capital rank: 9 (out of 51)

Innovation Environment rank: 6 (out of 51)

Delaware ranked in the top five states for highest share of technology companies and highest research & development spending per capita.


8. Utah

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Salt Lake City, Utah.
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f11photo/Shutterstock

WalletHub State Innovation Index: 57.84 (out of 100)

Human Capital rank: 8 (out of 51)

Innovation Environment rank: 5 (out of 51)

Utah ranked fifth overall in states with the best eighth grade math and science performance.


7. Virginia

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Richmond, Virginia.
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Shutterstock

WalletHub State Innovation Index: 61.87 (out of 100)

Human Capital rank: 3 (out of 51)

Innovation Environment: 15 (out of 51)

Virginia was tied for first, with D.C., for the highest projected STEM job demand by 2020. Virginia also ranked in the top five for the highest share of technology companies, and the fastest average internet speed.


6. California

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San Francisco, California.
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IM_photo/Shutterstock

WalletHub State Innovation Index: 62.04 (out of 100)

Human Capital rank: 7 (out of 51)

Innovation Environment rank: 2 (out of 51)

California is tied for the No. 1 spot, with Massachusetts and D.C., for the highest venture capital funding per capita. As the home of Silicon Valley, it makes sense that the state also ranks first for the number of invention patents per capita, according to WalletHub.


5. Colorado

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Denver, Colorado.
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EdgeOfReason/Shutterstock

WalletHub State Innovation Index: 63.35 (out of 100)

Human Capital rank: 6 (out of 51)

Innovation Environment rank: 4 (out of 51)

With Pennsylvania, Colorado comes in at the top for the best eighth grade math and science performance. Colorado is also in the top five rankings for the highest share of technology companies and highest share of STEM professionals.


4. Maryland

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Baltimore, Maryland.
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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

WalletHub State Innovation Index: 64.06 (out of 100)

Human Capital rank: 5 (out of 51)

Innovation Environment rank: 7 (out of 51)

With its close proximity to the nation’s capital, Maryland ranks highly in a number of key areas. This includes No. 2 for fastest average internet speed and highest share of STEM professionals, and No. 3 for highest share of technology companies.


3. District of Columbia (Washington D.C.)

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Washington, D.C.
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Orhan Cam/Shutterstock

WalletHub State Innovation Index: 67.47 (out of 100)

Human Capital rank: 1 (out of 51)

Innovation Environment rank: 17 (out of 51)

The nation’s capital beats all 50 U.S. states in a number of areas: It has the highest share of technology companies (8.4%), the highest share of STEM professionals, and the highest share of science and engineering graduates aged 25+. D.C. is also tied for the highest venture capital funding per capita, the highest R&D spending per capita, and the highest projected demand for STEM jobs by 2020.


2. Washington

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Seattle, Washington.
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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

WalletHub State Innovation Index: 68.03 (out of 100)

Human Capital rank: 4 (out of 51)

Innovation Environment rank: 3 (out of 51)

Washington is home to major tech companies, including Amazon and Microsoft. It’s no surprise, then, that Washington places in the top five in categories including highest venture capital funding per capita, highest share of STEM professionals, and share of households with internet access (84.3%).


1. Massachusetts

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Boston, Massachusetts.
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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

WalletHub State Innovation Index: 72.31 (out of 100)

Human Capital rank: 2 (out of 51)

Innovation Environment rank: 1 (out of 51)

Massachusetts houses headquarters for major innovative companies like Dell and General Electric. Its prestigious colleges, including Harvard and MIT, serve as breeding grounds for some of the top tech talent of the future.