These Cities Are Ready to Handle the Digital Economy

Venture capitalists 1776 and other partners have created a ranking of the top 25 cities that are ready for the digital economy. Some are straightforward, while others are surprising.

Tech has gone through some ups and downs over the years, and has played a big role in some of our past economic slumps. However, the tech sector added 3,600 new jobs to the U.S. economy in April, proving that it is clearly a dominant player. The prominence of the industry has prompted several bouts of research and questions about its role moving forward.

A new report, called Innovation That Matters, by the venture capitalist firm 1776, Free Enterprise, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, ranks U.S. cities according to their assessed readiness to capitalize on the digital economy that is becoming more and more a product of daily life.

The report is an update to a previous version, and it draws upon statistics of existing talent, quantity of investor dollars, density of startups, connectivity, and culture (as assessed by a survey), to build its rankings.

Source: Innovation That Matters

Some of the cities that rank high on the list are expected (Boston and the Bay Area), while others come as a bit of a surprise. Denver for instance, ranks high because of its flourishing job market, involved investors, and general livability. Another underdog, the Raleigh-Durham area, is a center for health startups amidst its dense network of medical centers and pharmaceutical companies.

The findings of the report are important, but at the same time, it’s easy to over-romanticize tech as the sole contributor to the modern economy, or as a categorically positive influence. Many complaints have been lobbied against tech companies as sources of gentrification and growing class inequality. In fact, San Francisco fell from first place to second in the Innovation That Matters rankings this year partially because the area has become so expensive alongside the growth of its tech industry. Across the U.S. the middle class is shrinking, and many of those in the highest income brackets belong to the tech sector.

At a macro scale, some economists worry that the tech sector and other hot markets of the current age aren’t actually contributing much to economic productivity. So there are clearly some residual questions about how digital economies fit into U.S. growth. However, the rankings provide an interesting snapshot of some of the factors that contribute to growing job markets, and it will be interesting to see which cities remain dominant players moving forward.

A still from the film "We Became Fragments" by Luisa Conlon , Lacy Roberts and Hanna Miller, part of the Global Oneness Project library.

Photo: Luisa Conlon , Lacy Roberts and Hanna Miller / Global Oneness Project
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
  • Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
  • Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
Keep reading Show less

What the world will look like in the year 250,002,018

This is what the world will look like, 250 million years from now

On Pangaea Proxima, Lagos will be north of New York, and Cape Town close to Mexico City
Surprising Science

To us humans, the shape and location of oceans and continents seems fixed. But that's only because our lives are so short.

Keep reading Show less

Sooner or later we all face death. Will a sense of meaning help us?

As a doctor, I am reminded every day of the fragility of the human body, how closely mortality lurks just around the corner.

Photo by Alex Boyd on Unsplash
Personal Growth

'Despite all our medical advances,' my friend Jason used to quip, 'the mortality rate has remained constant – one per person.'

Keep reading Show less

3 mind-blowing space facts with Neil deGrasse Tyson

Tyson dives into the search for alien life, dark matter, and the physics of football.

Neil deGrasse Tyson: 3 mind-blowing space facts | Big Think | dotcom
  • Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson joins us to talk about one of our favorite subjects: space.
  • In the three-chaptered video, Tyson speaks about the search for alien life inside and outside of the Goldilocks Zone, why the term "dark matter" should really be called "dark gravity," and how the rotation of the Earth may have been the deciding factor in a football game.
  • These fascinating space facts, as well as others shared in Tyson's books, make it easier for everyone to grasp complex ideas that are literally out of this world.
Keep reading Show less
Scroll down to load more…