Boston, MA– We're all about superlatives in Massachusetts. We're the most aggressive drivers (ask anyone; ignore the surveys that say otherwise), we're the most politically opinionated, we're the most Irish, and today we have something else to add to our reputation: we're rated as the #1 most innovate state by WalletHub.

We just edged out Washington state which came in second. D.C. was third, Maryland fourth, and Colorado took fifth.

What does "most innovative" even mean? Let's take a look at the data that WalletHub used to determine "innovation levels."

We ranked #4 for the highest share of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) professionals. (#1 was Washington D.C.)

We ranked #5 for highest projected STEM-job demand by 2020. (#1 was, again, D.C.)

We ranked #4 in best eighth-grade science and math performance. (Tied for first place were Colorado and Pennsylvania.)

We tied for first in highest R&D spending per capita with... yes you guessed it! D.C. again.

Finally, we tied for first with California and D.C (!!!) in highest venture-capital funding per capita.

Jeez. All I learned from those numbers are that we are very innovative, but D.C. is really trying to spoil our party.

Aside from the ranking listed above, there were a few more factors that gave us the edge to come out at #1. Here are a few:

  • Share of Science & Engineering Graduates. This metric measures the percentage of science- and engineering-degree holders aged 25 years and older per total degree holders in the same age group.
  • Scientific-Knowledge Output. This metric measures the number of peer-reviewed articles published per $1 million of academic S&E research and development.
  • Number of Startups “Accelerated" per Total Number of Start-ups. An important, if often controversial, factor of growth in the US technology ecosystem is its numerous incubators and accelerators, which support early-stage startups with investment often in exchange for 6 to 10 percent equity stakes.

In short, if you are in the STEM fields, it's a good time to be living in Massachusetts.

The study also asked four economics experts for their thoughts on the following questions:

  1. How can state policymakers encourage and facilitate innovation?
  2. What can policymakers do to assist those who may lose their jobs or otherwise be displaced by innovation across industries?
  3. What skills best prepare individuals to be competitive in a changing economic landscape?
  4. Which states/ cities have the most chances to get other half of Amazon’s HQ2 now?
  5. In evaluating the best states for innovation, what are the top five indicators?

Check out their answers here if you're interested in what they had to say!