©2019 by Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson

Is your city the next great American
technology hub?

We believe there is potential to develop high-tech, high-income jobs all across America. In our search for that potential, we developed our own rankings of potential new technology hubs based on statistical data about American cities. The Appendix to Jumpstarting America provides more detail on our ranking system and data sources. 

 

The maps below display the same data we used. The Top 102 Map shows our results in detail; the All MSAs Map gives you the opportunity to combine cities to define your own custom region or give different priority to different statistics. 

 

We invite you to browse the map, define the region you're interested in, decide which statistics are most important, check where your region ranks against others, and tell us about the results on our forum.

TECHNICAL NOTES: Our technology hub candidate rankings use a composite ranking algorithm that considers 8 variables: Working-age population, percent of adults with a college degree, number of top-ranked science graduate degree programs located in the MSA, number of college graduates from the MSA that went on to get a PhD from a top-20 program between 2005 and 2015, patents registered per 1,000 workers per year (using 2010 data), average sale prices for housing units in the MSA (using 2010 data), violent crimes per 10,000 residents per year, and the percent of commuters that report spending less than 30 minutes travelling to work each way. 

We bundle these variables into 3 categories : Population, Education, and Lifestyle. 

For our original calculation to find the Top 102 Places in America, we merged some MSAs into pairs and triangles. We generally tried to identify pairs and triangles where the resulting Place performs much better than any of the individual MSAs that went into it. These are shown in the Top 102 Map, but for technical reasons are not shown in the All MSAs Map. We do not want to presume that we made the 'best possible use' of any MSAs, which is why our All MSAs Map allows you to form your own pairs and triangles. The only hard-and-fast restriction is that your MSAs must be less than 2-hours driving distance from each other. If your Custom Region ranks #1 or #2, it definitely beats all of ours!

 

MSAs that don't meet the threshold parameters (shown in the lower right of the All MSAs Map) are not ranked. Our default threshold parameters are: Working population of at least 100,000; at least 25% of adults have a college degree; average house price is no higher than $265,000. You can modify these parameters and see the rankings recalculated in the All MSAs Map. As an example, increasing the house price threshold to $300,000 allows many additional MSAs to be ranked. 

 

Each MSA, pair, or triangle is ranked according to each variable. You can see a breakdown of all variable rankings in the appendix. As an example, Rochester, NY ranks #3 for patents. The overall ranking for each place is calculated by simply summing the category ranks - the place with the smallest sum is rank #1. 

The sliders at the bottom of the interactive map allow you to change the weights of each category and variable. As an example, if you assign 100% weight to population, the resulting rankings simply put the MSAs in order by population from largest to smallest. If you were to assign 100% weight to the education category, then 100% weight to the 'percent college degrees' variable, the resulting rankings would put the MSAs in order by the percent of adults with a college degree (and no other variables would play a role in the ranking). We welcome comments on the pros and cons of this ranking system on our forum

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