Wyoming losing ground in annual list of ‘Most Innovative States’

WYOMING — Wyoming’s push to become more economically diversified appears to have stalled somewhat according to a new study released by WalletHub.

With the US projected to spend $581 billion on research and development in 2019 and NYC recently backing out of the deal for Amazon’s HQ2, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2019’s Most & Least Innovative States.

Former Wyoming Governor Matt Mead launched ENDOW (Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming) in his final year on office. The ambitious initiative is aimed at helping the state get off its dependency on minerals extraction by expanding the economy into other sectors, particularly techy ones.

“We must be a state of innovators and swiftly create the necessary ecosystem for new technologies to thrive,” Mead said in summer 2018.

But is the state trending in that direction? Not yet, according to the latest metrics from WalletHub. New data shows Wyoming slipping from a middle-of-the-pack #27 ranking last year to #36 this time around.

To be fair, innovation and emerging technology is just one component of ENDOW. Other economic stimulation efforts—like support for small businesses on Main Street—may be indeed working.

In order to give credit to the states that have contributed the most to America’s innovative success, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 24 key metrics. The data set ranges from share of STEM professionals to R&D spending per capita.

Most Innovative States     Least Innovative States

  1. Massachusetts                42. Nebraska
  2. Washington                    43. South Dakota
  3. District of Columbia     44. Kentucky
  4. Maryland                        45. Hawaii
  5. Colorado                         46. North Dakota
  6. California                       47. Tennessee
  7. Virginia                          48. Iowa
  8. Utah                                49. West Virginia
  9. Delaware                        50. Louisiana
  10. Oregon                            51. Mississippi

Key Stats

Wyoming’s efforts to stimulate tech industries and attract innovative, intellectual capital to the state haven’t yet paid off. (ENDOW, State of Wyoming)

The District of Columbia has the highest share of STEM professionals, 9.80 percent, three times higher than in Mississippi, the lowest at 3.30 percent.

The District of Columbia has the highest share of technology companies, 8.40 percent, 3.2 times higher than in South Dakota, the lowest at 2.60 percent.

New Mexico has the highest research and development (R&D) intensity, 6.52 percent, 16.3 times higher than in Nevada, the lowest at 0.40 percent.

Florida has the highest share of public high-school students taking advanced-placement (AP) exams, 51.91 percent, 3.9 times higher than in North Dakota, the lowest at 13.22 percent.

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