RALEIGH – North Carolina ranks 19th in the nation when it comes to innovation, a new analysis concludes.

The WalletHub rankings report, published earlier today, ranked North Carolina 19th overall and 19th for its innovation environment, one of the categories measured in the analysis.  But North Carolina ranked 23rd for the state’s human capital, the analysis found.

Washington, D.C., which was included in the analysis, ranked first overall, finishing at first in human capital and second for its innovation environment, while Massachusetts ranked second overall, including first for innovation and third for human capital.  The state of Washington finished ranked third overall, including second for human capital and fourth for innovation.

Despite both Raleigh and Durham finishing in the top seven rankings in an analysis of innovation conducted by NC TECH and released in December 2021, North Carolina only cracked the top 20 in the WalletHub analysis.  Charlotte finished 27th among U.S. cities in the NC TECH Tech Innovation Index.

Durham, Raleigh appear in top 7 rankings nationally in new ‘Tech Innovation Index’

Behind the rankings

Each state, and the District of Columbia, was measured along the two category dimensions, which incorporated data from 22 relevant metrics, the WalletHub report methodology reads.

The study used a weighted average to assign a total “state innovation index” score, and then the scores were rank-ordered to create the list of most and least innovative states.

Beyond the state adopting the K-12 computer science standards, one of the 22 metrics tracked, North Carolina did not rank in the top 10 states in any of the other 21 tracked metrics.

We’re No. 1: North Carolina ranks first in nation for strong business climate

According to data provided to WRAL TechWire by WalletHub, North Carolina ranked 11th for tax-friendliness, 13th in net migration, 14th in R&D intensity, 14th for the projected number of STEM roles by 2028, and 15th in R&D spending per capita as well as 15th for the percentage of technology gross state product compared to total state gross state product.

The state also ranked 16th for the share of STEM professionals, 16th for average annual federal small business funding per gross domestic product, 18th for the number of startups considered “accelerated” among the total number of startups, and 20th for venture capital funding per capita.

North Carolina ranked near the bottom for scientific knowledge output, 44th, households with internet access, 36th, for open roads and skies laws, 37th, and 8th-Grade math and science performance, 34th.

The state ranked near the middle for the share of technology companies, 23rd, invention patents per capita, 24th, average internet speed, 25th, AP exam participation, 25th, the share of science and engineering graduates, 26th, entrepreneurial activity, 27th, and industry-cluster strength, 30th.

WalletHub ranked the state as the 21st worst state in the U.S. for women in an analysis earlier this year.

WalletHub: NC is 21st worst state for women