One of the best indicators of a healthy economy is investment in innovation. In 2016, the US spent $514 billion–more money than any other country spent–on research and development efforts.

But where, in the US, is the greatest tech innovation happening? A new report from WalletHub draws from data from the US Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Science Foundation, National Center for Education Statistics, Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, US Patent and Trademark Office, and other sources to determine where the most innovation is occurring in America.

The report looked at 50 US states, plus D.C., to see how each measured up in terms of technology innovation. The analysis examined two factors–“human capital” and “innovation environment”–using 18 different metrics that relate to these areas, including things like “share of households with internet access,” “drone friendly regulations,” and “AP exam participation.”

Here are the best states for innovation:

1. D.C.
2. Maryland
3. Massachusetts
4. California
5. Colorado

…and the worst states for innovation:

46. Oklahoma
47. Kentucky
48. Louisiana
49. Mississippi
50. West Virginia

SEE: Report: Why the best three jobs in America are all in tech (TechRepublic)

The report also examined how each state stacked up in terms of specific categories. Here’s what it found:

Best/worst state, by category:

  • Number of STEM professionals: D.C. / Nevada and Mississippi
  • Demand for STEM jobs by 2020: D.C. / Mississippi
  • 8th grade math/science performance: Colorado / Alabama
  • Science/engineering graduates over age 25: D.C. / Mississippi
  • Number of tech companies: Virginia / West Virginia
  • R&D spending per capita: D.C. / Wyoming
  • Internet speed: D.C. / Idaho
  • Venture capital funding per capita: California / North Dakota

You can browse a map of the US to see exactly how each state stacks up:

Source: WalletHub

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. A new report compared 50 US states, plus D.C., to see how each measured up in terms of innovation-friendliness.
  2. The report used 18 metrics that aligned with “human capital” and “innovation environment”–including figures related to STEM jobs, internet access, drone-friendly regulations, and other measures.
  3. States that invest in education, research and business creation, perform the best in measures of innovation.

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