Is California Still the Best State for Tech Startups? What The Data Says

It’s an age-old debate: which US state reigns supreme when it comes to being the best for tech startups? The competition is fierce, and every state wants to be known as the Silicon Valley of the East, West, North, or South.

But now, a new study from the startup analysis website Web Acquisition gives us some answers.

California: The Tech Titan

It’s official–despite all the doom and gloom about San Francisco we’ve been hearing lately, California is still the best place for startups.

With a whopping score of 88 out of 100, the Golden State takes the crown.

Why does California excel? It’s not just the sunny beaches and Hollywood allure. The state shines with a robust Science & Engineering (S&E) education system, boasting 26.94 bachelor’s degrees in S&E per 1000 18-24-year-olds.

San Francisco skyline with SoMA neighborhood
Tech areas of San Francisco

Furthermore, 5.90% of its workforce is occupied by S&E professionals. Add in a significant venture capital investment in tech, equivalent to 0.40% of its GDP, and an impressive number of business applications (437,447) with a high survival rate of 55.20%, and it’s clear why California is on top.

And while it might have a higher tax rate of 8.80%, the state provides its inhabitants with a comfortable average weekly wage of $1,658.50 and a high quality of life index of 137.6.

New York: The Empire State’s Tech Prowess

Hot on California’s heels is New York, scoring an admirable 76.13 out of 100. The Empire State showcases a strong commitment to S&E education and representation in the workforce. With venture capital deals in tech amounting to 0.50% of its GDP and a noteworthy number of business applications, New York proves it’s more than just the city that never sleeps – it’s a hub for tech innovation.

And with a quality of life index of 134.5, backed by a competitive tax rate and weekly wages, it’s no wonder the state ranks second.

Massachusetts: The Tech Beacon of the East

Coming in third, Massachusetts isn’t far behind with a score of 74.8. What sets the state apart is its astonishing 38.16 bachelor’s degrees in S&E per 1000 18-24 year-olds and a whopping 7.10% of its workforce entrenched in S&E.

The state’s venture capital investment in tech mirrors California at 0.40% of its GDP. And, with a quality of life index soaring at 149.7, it’s evident that Massachusetts offers its inhabitants not only opportunities in tech but also a high standard of living.

In Summary

This study is a testament to the ever-evolving tech landscapes of the US. While California, New York, and Massachusetts lead the pack today, it will be interesting to see how these rankings shuffle in the future.

A state’s tech prowess isn’t just about venture capital or the number of startups. It’s a holistic combination of education, workforce representation, investment, business survival, wages, quality of life, and more. The tech ecosystem is a complex web, and these states have cracked the code – for now.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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