State Rankings


The second category - industry - of our state rankings shows California and Massachusetts taking the top two slots once again. But a more in-depth look at each state’s performance in the individual measures shows that Massachusetts is actually the denser micro-nano hotbed of the two. Other states on the eastern seaboard fared well, benefiting from cross-border pollination, while New Mexico, Michigan and Texas were buoyed by their states’ particular micro and nano clusters.
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California topped the industry list by virtue of high scores in both measures (see text above for definition) but it is especially strong when its industry density is compared to national micro and nano density: a little more than 20 percent of the U.S.-based micro and nano companies in our database call The Golden State home. However, California’s massive economy means micro and nano is still just a small part of it.


Shifting attention from the Bay Area to the Bay State, one sees a tighter concentration of activity. For Massachusetts, it’s a natural outgrowth of core competencies in technology and the life sciences. The state is home to more than seven percent of micro and nano companies in the nation, the majority of them located in or near Boston. On a purely per-capita basis, Massachusetts would take the lead.

New York

New York actually hosts more companies involved in micro and nanotech than Massachusetts - more than nine percent of the U.S. total. But they are spread all over the state, from New York City to Long Island to upstate and they are a mixed bag of established industry and innovative startups. The Albany area is pushing nanoeconomic development aggressively. Look for the upstate region to evolve into a denser cluster as startups and service providers follow the recently-announced AMD chip fab into the region.

New Mexico

New Mexico’s small population belies a tech cluster with deep roots in small tech. As a percent of overall economic density, New Mexico’s micro and nano population ranks second only to California. Startups, national labs, university resources and an economic development community keen on technology are regional assets.


Connecticut scored very well - third - in the measure comparing micro and nano density to the state’s overall density. It gets a boost because of its small size and close proximity to both Boston and New York. The state has solid roots in defense and energy, with established players looking to exploit small technologies and which are engendering spinouts along the way.


Michigan is in the middle of the top-10 pack in both measures. Clustering activity is densely packed in the southeastern corner of the state surrounding Detroit. The western edge of the region hosts the University of Michigan and affiliated startups, while cities along the corridor to the north of Detroit have a history of innovation in materials, automotive, and other areas. Almost 5 percent of micro and nano companies in the U.S. are based in the state.


Delaware, like Connecticut, benefits from proximity to bigger players, as well as something else: DuPont. The state fares well for micro and nano activity compared to its overall density because of the chemical company and affiliated entities. Not surprisingly, activity is centered in Wilmington.

New Jersey

New Jersey’s population of companies involved in micro and nano development has a foundation of both materials companies and, even more so, pharmaceuticals developers. As a result, its density numbers are based on companies involved much more in nanotech than microtechnologies. A little more than 4 percent of micro and nano companies call the state home.


Pennsylvania has two clusters that are supporting its density ranking. The Philadelphia-area cluster is strong in pharmaceuticals development and other life sciences, while the Pittsburgh region has a mix of MEMS and materials. All told, they comprise almost 5 percent of the country’s total.


Texas is buoyed by its cluster in the Austin area, which is poised to grow with a new Samsung chip fab announced this year. In addition, Houston has a thriving community of startups and established companies working to commercialize nanotech for many markets - among them, not surprisingly, energy. On the micro side, Dallas-based Texas Instruments wrote the MEMS commercialization playbook with its digital micromirror device.

Two measures are used to generate the industry scores reflected in the map. Individual scores for the top-10 in each measure are reflected in the charts below. The first measure gauges a state’s performance in micro and nanotech by comparing the density of such companies within its borders to the state’s overall density. The second measure compares a state’s density of micro and nano companies against the overall number of companies in the United States. A state’s final score in the industry category is calculated by taking the average of its scores in both measures, then normalizing the result on a 100-point scale.
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- David Forman