Here Are America’s Top Spots for Invention and Innovation

It turns out Silicon Valley isn’t the hottest place in the country for new inventions

In societies driven by capitalism, invention presents unlimited opportunity. Creating a product that takes the world by storm encapsulates the “American dream”, but it all starts with claiming ownership of an idea. With over 3.3 million patents filed from 1963-2015, the US has no shortage of proprietary ideas. However, a recent study from QAD shows that these ideas are much more likely to come from some areas of the country than others. Keep reading to see how inventive your neighbors are. 

America’s Top 25 Most Inventive Cities Map (per 100k)

It’s no surprise at all that California is home to three of the country’s most inventive cities. Headlined by Fremont and followed by Silicon Valley neighbors San Jose and Irvine, California’s top cities stand head and shoulders above the rest of the country. These three cities average almost 600 patents per 100,000 residents, which is more than double the national average. Aside from these three major cities, California has 6 of the top 25 cities in America by average number of patents thanks to its reputation as a tech hub. 

Total Number of Patents Issued by State Map (total patents)

When looking at the total number of patents filed by state as opposed to their rates relative to the population, the cities at the top are unsurprisingly some of the more heavily populated states in the country. However, there are a few surprises. New Jersey, despite being outside the top 10 is population, ranks 4th in patents filed. There is also a clear significant concentration of patents filed in the Northeast.

Number of Patents Per 100K People Issued by State Map

A breakdown of patents per state that considers population density shows that California may not be the country’s leader after all. Delaware actually ranks the highest with over 63 patents filed per 100,000 residents since 1963. Fellow northeastern states Connecticut and Massachusetts are also in the top 5, suggesting that Silicon Valley isn’t the only corner of the country giving us great new ideas.

America’s Most and Least Inventive Regions

On a broader level, the top regions of innovation are clear: the West and Northeast. The West finished at the top with over 38 patents per 100K people on average, but the Northeast was right behind with a rate of over 34 patents per 100K people. The Midwest lagged behind with a score just under 26, and the South was bringing up the rear with a rate of under 16 patents per 100K people which is less than half that of the West and Northeast. 

While there were over 3.3 million patents filed by US residents from 1963-2015, it’s clear from this study that these ideas are more heavily concentrated in certain areas. Whether it was intentional or not, the West and Northeast have deemed themselves regions of innovation. While there are ideas coming from all over the country, your favorite product was likely to be dreamed up in California, New York, or apparently, Delaware. It will be interesting to see how this trend continues to play out in the decades to come, and where the “Silicon Valley” of the future might end up.

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