WalletHub has released the list of the 10 most innovative states of 2018 and Maryland ranked second, only below Massachusetts.

In many ways, innovation is the backbone of U.S. economic growth. As technology and science advance our country continues to push innovation forward. In fact, it is estimated that in 2018 the U.S. will have spent $553 billion on research and development, which is more than any other country in the world! So which states are the most innovative? WalletHub released their list of the 10 most innovative states and all of the DMV states reached the top 10, with Maryland ranking second! WalletHub used a methodology that examined 22 factors, which fell into either the human capital category or the innovation environment category. In the human capital category were factors that included share of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professionals, projected STEM-job demand by 2020, and AP exam participation. While the innovation environment category had factors like share of technology companies, R&D spending per captia, and R&D intensity. Each factor was rated on a 100-point scale, then the states were given a weighted average across all 22 metrics to calculate their “State Innovation Index.” [caption id="attachment_8391" align="aligncenter" width="494"]10 most innovative states Courtesy of Linkedin[/caption]
Massachusetts came in first in the list of 10 most innovative states, followed by Maryland, with Washington, D.C., at No. 4 and Virginia at No. 7. Professor of Economics at Sinclair Community College Ribhi Daoud recommended that states wanting to be more innovative should give tax incentives for R&D, financial incentives for higher education and research, and support capital investments in product and process development. Areas in all three DMV states are currently being considered for Amazon’s second headquarters and the states’ innovative background probably plays a large role. Certain factors such as tax-friendliness have been used by states to woo Amazon executives to their area and the Amazon executives have stated they are looking for an area with a highly educated workforce. Maryland came in with a total state innovation index score of 68.53, a human capital rank of second, and an innovation environment rank of sixth. While Maryland didn't win any of the sub-categories it ranked in the top five for highest share of STEM professionals, highest projected STEM-job demand by 2020, highest share of science and engineering graduates aged 25+, highest share of technology companies, highest R&D spending per capita, and fastest internet speed. Maryland has tied its second place score for last year's list of 10 most innovative states. [caption id="attachment_8395" align="aligncenter" width="640"]10 most innovative states Courtesy of Johns Hopkins Medicine[/caption] Maryland’s elite suburbs and connections to companies such as Lockheed Martin Corporation and Discovery Communications helps the state stay competitive. Maryland is also home to the prestigious Johns Hopkins University which focuses on innovation and STEM education. The Maryland state government has even created the Maryland Innovation Initiative with five Maryland academic research institutions, including Johns Hopkins, to promote the commercialization of research from the academic institutions into products and services for the marketplace. To read WalletHub's full report and rankings, click here. What do you think? What makes Maryland so innovative? Do you want the Amazon headquarters to come here? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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