This Rural State Could Be Considered The Inventing Capital Of America


We often think of Californians as America’s most free-thinking, inventive people.

And we think of Idahoans as potato farmers.

But when you compare per capita inventions over the past 50 years — listed at the US Patent and Trademark Office — the data tell a different story.

It is Idahoans that lead the country with nearly 4 patented inventions per 1,000 people. Of course it helps to have a small population and the headquarters of Micron Technology and large Hewlett Packard operations.

10. Colorado

1.86 patented inventions per 1,000 people.

The cheeseburger was invented here in the 1930s. Most patents are filed by individuals, Hewlett-Packard and Agilient Technologies.

9. Delaware

1.88 patented inventions per 1,000 people.

Inventing in Delaware is currently ruled by DuPont, which created nylon in the state, individuals and chemicals firm Rohm and Haas.

8. Connecticut

2.15 patented inventions per 1,000 people.

From the can opener to the Colt revolver, Connecticut has a strong history of creating. The state's patents are now primarily owned by individuals, United Technologies and IBM.

7. Oregon

2.49 patented inventions per 1,000 people.

Most of the patents in Oregon, where the hacky sack was invented in the 1970s, belong to creators like Intel and Hewlett-Packard.

6. Minnesota

2.69 patented inventions per 1,000 people.

Minnesota is the birthplace of the post-it note, owned by 3M. Individuals and tech heavyweights IBM and 3M currently own most inventions.

5. Washington

2.92 patented inventions per 1,000 people.

In Washington, where the boardgames Pictionary, Pickle-ball, and Cranium were all created, the biggest patent owners have been Microsoft, Boeing and individuals.

4. California

2.93 patented inventions per 1,000 people.

Interestingly, inventing in California is dominated by individual inventors, like the one who created the Frisbee there in the 1940s. Broadcom Corp and Hewlett-Packard came in at a distant second and third, respectively.

3. Massachusetts

3.00 patented inventions per 1,000 people.

In Massachusetts, the birthplace of packaged frozen food, the most prolific inventors were individuals, followed by storage hardware firm EMC Corp and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

2. Vermont

3.90 patented inventions per 1,000 people.

Top patent owners in Vermont, where the ski lift was invented, include IBM, Micron Technology and individuals.

1. Idaho

3.96 patented inventions per 1,000 people.

Known more for potatoes than patents, Idaho surprisingly topped the list of America's most inventive states. The vast majority of those patents belong to Micron Technology, the semiconductor giant run out of Boise, followed by Hewlett-Packard and individuals, in the spirit of Philo Farnsworth who invented the tube television set in Idaho in the 1920s.

Being creative doesn't always pay off

NOW WATCH: Ideas videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.