Data and analysis tools to support regional competitiveness in a knowledge-based economy. An EDA project.

Innovation Index

index graphic The Index helps you understand your region's innovation performance and potential

Cluster Analysis

Explore 15 knowledge-based occupation clusters and 17 industry clusters to uncover regional strengths

Investment Analysis

Understand the regional development process and access tools to help guide public investment decisions

Innovation Index Methodology

Developing the Innovation Index began by identifying possible indicators used in previous analyses, as well as researching additional indicators that were theoretically important and available at the county level. This page overviews the rationale behind the selected index variables.

Learn what changed with the 2010 update of the index

Human Capital

Variables included in the human capital component index suggest the extent to which a county’s population and labor force are able to engage in innovative activities. Counties with high levels of human capital are those with enhanced knowledge that can be measured by high educational attainment, growth in younger age brackets of the workforce (signifying attractiveness to younger generations of workers), and a sizeable number of innovation-related occupations and jobs relative to the overall labor force.

Economic Dynamics

The economic dynamics component index measures local business conditions and resources available to entrepreneurs and businesses. Targeted resources such as venture capital funds are input flows that encourage innovation close to home, or that, if not present, can limit innovative activity.

Productivity and Employment

The productivity and employment component index describes economic growth, regional desirability, or direct outcomes of innovative activity. Variables in this index suggest the extent to which local and regional economies are moving up the value chain and attracting workers seeking particular jobs.

Economic Well-Being

Innovative economies improve economic well-being because residents earn more and have a higher standard of living. Decreasing poverty rates, increasing employment, in-migration of new residents and improvements in personal income signal a more desirable location to live and point to an increase in economic well-being.

State Context

A fifth category, state context, seeks to capture data that are theoretically important but available only at the state level. It is composed of science and engineering graduates from state institutions per 1,000 residents of the state; private R&D by state relative to worker compensation; and total R&D expenditures as a percent of state GDP, the latter being the National Science Foundation measure for “R&D intensity.” The state context category is not given as much attention because it is not used for the index calculation and because the indicator becomes diluted if a region crosses state boundaries.

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