Nov 13, 2020 - Technology

The leading states in tech and science

Data: Milken Institute; Table: Axios Visuals
Data: Milken Institute; Table: Axios Visuals

Massachusetts, Colorado and California top a list of U.S. states with the greatest "capacity for achieving prosperity through scientific discovery and technological innovation," according to the Milken Institute's 2020 State Technology and Science Index released today.

Why it matters: Addressing the factors that allow states to create more jobs and economic growth could help them recover from the pandemic's economic fallout and adapt to future downturns and disruptions.

  • Maryland, Washington and Utah rounded out the top tier of states on the index, which has been reported every two years for almost two decades.

Zoom in: "Utah did several things right," says study author Kevin Klowden, executive director of the Milken Institute’s Center for Regional Economics and California Center.

  • The state is anchored by three universities (University of Utah, Utah State and Brigham Young University), matched investments by various tech and life sciences companies in the state, and sold people on the lifestyle, he says.
  • "They built a critical mass, and that is incredibly important," he adds.

The bottom line: "Policy matters tremendously. Geography and history are an advantage, but it is really about the states that invest and protect what they do," says Klowden.

  • The states consistently in the top 20 make an effort around education and linking people to jobs, he says.
  • "You can only grow so much from poaching from other states. You ultimately need to grow the people internally."

Methodology: The index uses 105 metrics in five areas (research and development inputs, risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure, human capital investment, technology and science workforce, and technology concentration and dynamism) to evaluate states.

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