Silicon Valley, New York Metro Area Rank Tops for Patents: Brookings
As technologies have become more complex, the importance of formal training in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields has increased. Consequently, metropolitan areas with a high share of STEM-educated workers—such as Corvallis, Ore.; Boulder, Colo.; San Francisco; and Ann Arbor, Mich.—develop patents at very high rates, according to "Patenting Prosperity: Invention and Economic Performance in the United States and its Metropolitan Areas," a Brookings Institution report detailing patenting trends on a regional level from 1980 to 2012. The report concluded that patents help drive regional innovation and economic growth, finding Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per worker (a measure of productivity) was $16,000 higher in metropolitan areas that developed more patents from 2007 to 2011. High-patenting metropolitan areas also launch more publicly traded tech companies and generate more value from initial public offerings. The study found that a low-patenting metro area would add $4,300 per worker to its economy each decade if it became a high-patenting metro area.