State of innovation

Here's how Texas ranks among the nation's most innovative states

Here's how Texas ranks among the nation's most innovative states

Texas state flag road sign
Texas is chugging along as an innovative state. Photo by gguy44/Getty Images

Innovation is one of the cogs of any state's economic engine, and it appears Texas' innovation cogs are decently oiled.

Texas ranks 17th in a new study of the country's innovative states by personal finance website WalletHub. While the Lone Star State isn't the most innovative state in the ranking — that accolade goes to Massachusetts — it still earns above-average status.

"As the ninth-largest economy in the world, the Lone Star State is an economic and innovation powerhouse that offers unmatched opportunities for families and businesses. Texas continues to lead as a top state for job creation and for attracting job-creating capital investments — thanks to our unwavering commitment to economic freedom and our young, educated, and diverse workforce," touts the Texas governor's office.

While Texas sits below big states such as Massachusetts, California (No. 7), New Jersey (No. 12), and Michigan (No. 14) in terms of innovation, it beats other large states like North Carolina (No. 19), Florida (No. 20), Illinois (No. 23), New York (No. 25), and Tennessee (No. 44).

For its study, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 22 indicators of innovation friendliness, ranging from share of STEM professionals and R&D spending per capita to tech-company density and VC funding per capita.

Texas fared well in categories like tech-company density (No. 14), VC funding per capita (No. 16), share of STEM professionals (No. 17), projected demand for STEM jobs by 2028 (No. 18), and share of science and engineering graduates age 25 and older (No. 24). But the state lagged the majority of states in areas such as math and science performance among eighth-graders (No. 29) and R&D spending per capita (No. 32).

"My goal is to have Texas be the home of innovation," Gov. Greg Abbott told the Austin American-Statesman in 2016.

At the time, Abbott envisioned a "research triangle" encompassing San Antonio, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin.

"We are heading into a new era that I want Texas to be in the forefront of," he said, "a new era of life-sciences research — a combination of technology and life sciences — and medical advances, where over the coming two or three decades there will be incredible advances in medicine and health care, and the cures and treatments we have for people."

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This story originally ran on our sister site, InnovationMap