Delaware rises to 7th in Milken tech index

JPMorgan Chase photo of work area at its Technology Hub in Fairfax, just outside Wilmington.

Delaware rose to seventh in a ranking of top tech states by the Milken Institute.

The think tank’s 2018 State Technology and Science Index kept Massachusetts in first place. The ranking is released every other year. Delaware has stayed in the top 10 since the index was released in the early 2000s.

Milken noted thatDelaware rose to seventh from 10th, strengthened by an increase in venture capital invested in technology companies. The state also ranks high in the quality of its tech workforce.

The release noted that Delaware authorized a 25 percent tax credit for small companies (those with fewer than 25 employees) engaged in research and development in specific high-tech fields. The First State ranks fifth in the number of business startups with 53.4 per 1,000 residents.

Click here for a ink to map with state rankings since 2002

Delaware was hit hard by research cutbacks at DuPont Co. and has launched other initiatives that include research space for start-ups at the University of Delaware’s STAR Campus and the Delaware Innovation Space at the DuPont Experimental Station near Wilmington.

Wilmington has also seen growth in coworking space for start-ups, including tech companies. Thanks to the large financial services community, Delaware has a sizable presence in financial technology (fintech) that includes young companies.

The top four states were unchanged from the 2016 index. Colorado ranked No. 2, followed by No. 3 Maryland and No. 4 California. Fifth-place Utah was the only new member of the top five. Utah rose to fifth from eighth on the strength of rapid employment growth in technology and science. Washington fell to sixth from fifth.

2018 State Technology and Science Index top-10



1. Massachusetts
2. Colorado
3. Maryland
4. California
5. Utah
6. Washington
7. Delaware
8. Minnesota
9. New Hampshire
10. Oregon


“The success stories of states profiled in this year’s index reflect sustained efforts to not only build but to maintain their ecosystem,” said Kevin Klowden, executive director of the Milken Institute Center for Regional Economics. “Making the changes that are necessary to perform well on the State Technology and Science Index can contribute to stronger long-term economic performance.”

According to Milkin, the State Technology and Science Index provides a benchmark for policymakers to evaluate their state’s capabilities and formulate strategies for improving STEM education, attracting businesses, and creating jobs in the tech sector. Indices considered in the report include the number of patents issued and doctoral degrees granted in each state.

In addition to the index, the report offers case studies that examine issues such as non-compete contracts that limit employee mobility, along with access to higher education.

The report recommends four steps policymakers can take to improve their state’s competitiveness:

  • Increase scholarships and other financial aid to lower the cost of higher education for in-state students who plan STEM careers.
  • Better align STEM curriculums to make it easier for students to transfer credits from lower-cost two-year colleges to four-year institutions.
  • Encourage partnerships between higher-education institutions and private companies to provide students with work experience to improve workforce readiness and job placement.
  • Make employee noncompete laws less restrictive to encourage a freer exchange of ideas and talent among tech companies.

The index draws on data from government and private sources dating from 2015 to 2017, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Science Foundation, the Small Business Administration, the American Community Survey, and Moody’s Analytics.

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