Innovation

Michigan tops the list of US states dominated by robots

A report from the Brookings Institution details which US states have deployed the most robots, with the Midwest and South leading the charge.

More robots are in use in the state of Michigan than any other state in the US, according to a report from the Brookings Institution. Of the 233,305 industrial robots in use in the US, roughly 28,000, or 12%, are in the Great Lakes state.

Ohio comes in second place with 20,400 robots (8.7%), while Indiana holds 19,400 robots (8.3%). Major clusterings of robots are found in the Midwestern and Southern states, the report said. This is contrasted with the Western US, which only accounts for 13% of the country's industrial robots.

So, why are robots so densely concentrated in these areas? According to the report, it's because of the industries represented there. For Michigan, especially, that means the automotive industry, which "currently employs nearly half of all industrial robots in use," the report said.

SEE: Special report: How to automate the enterprise (free ebook)

If the data is broken down by metro area, the positions shift slightly. When looking at the 100 largest metro areas, Toledo, OH comes in first place, with nine robots per every 1,000 workers. Detroit is no. 2, with 8.5 robots per 1,000 workers, and Grand Rapids, MI takes the bronze trophy, with 6.3 robots per 1,000 workers.

"[M]ajor manufacturing centers like Toledo, Grand Rapids, Louisville, and Nashville also loom large," the report said. "Each of these metros saw a tripling of the number of their robots in operation during the post-crisis auto boom between 2010 and 2015."

When looking at all of the metro areas in the US, instead of just the 100 largest, the dynamics change considerably. Elkhart-Goshen, IN, for example, takes the lead with 35.9 robots per 1,000 workers. Kokomo, IN follows right behind, with 35.2 robots per 1,000 workers.

"Scores of smaller towns and cities in the Midwest and South are also heavily involved with robots, as would be expected from their high involvement in manufacturing. Twelve smaller places including four towns in Indiana (led by Elkhart), Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Spartanburg, S.C. all have robot densities higher than any larger metro," the report said.

The report also breaks down the metro areas with the smallest number of robots as well. To see these numbers, and for more information, check out the full report here.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Michigan is the US state with the highest number of robots employed, while Toledo, OH is the top metro area for that same record, according to Brookings Institution data.
  2. Most robot use in the US is concentrated in the Midwest and South, driven by the auto industry and other manufacturing-heavy verticals.
  3. Many small towns also use robots, like Elkhart-Goshen, IN, for example, where there are 35.9 robots per 1,000 workers.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/PJ66431470

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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