Patents at Record High
The number of patents granted relative to the size of the population was approximately equal to the national average in Arizona from 1980 through 2008. Since then, the Arizona figure has been lower than the national average in each year by at least 8 percent. The differential was 21 percent in 2013, the largest since 1972. The per capita number of patents nationally has increased substantially since 2009. A smaller gain was registered in Arizona from 2009 through 2012, but the 2013 figure dropped marginally.
In the 21st century, innovation—introducing something new—mostly derives from technological advances. Innovation drives the modern economy, leading to gains in productivity and prosperity. In order for a community to realize such gains, it must provide a foundation for innovation.
The foundation includes a strong educational system, a solid physical infrastructure, a base of research and development activities, innovator access to financial resources, and other factors. Science and engineering—in the educational system and in the workforce—are of particular importance. Indicators of human capital, financial capital, and high-technology activities are presented in the Innovation section of Arizona Indicators.