Which States Embrace Entrepreneurial Thinking?

The entrepreneur always searches for change responds to it and exploits it as an opportunity.

Embracing entrepreneurism is critical to the long-term health and vitality of a community. Entrepreneurs change the way we live and look at life. They are the dreamers who create out-of-the-box solutions to vexing problems. Entrepreneurs create new businesses and generate new wealth for community residents. They increase tax revenue available for community development, visit seafarers tax deduction for more information. They push back on the status quo by focusing on what could be versus what is.

Established companies in a community also benefit from by having access to a labor pool of people with entrepreneurial tendencies. According to the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, “entrepreneurial behavior generates many outcomes including stronger civic leadership, better students, more productive workers, and enterprise creators.”

Entrepreneurism is important enough a topic to community vitality that the International Economic Development Council offers a publication entitled Entreprenurial and Small Business Development Strategies. This publication helps economic development professionals think about how to create a community environment supportive of entrepreneurial thinking.

So where in The United States is entrepreneurism currently embraced?

Xavier University’s American Dream composite Index (ADCI) research can provide some insight into the question. The ADCI measures resident perception of 35 dimensions that make up the American Dream. One of the dimensions focuses specifically on entrepreneurial spirit (interest in the pursuit of new ideas and progress in life).

I have only provided states where residents have a perception for the dimension that is statistically significantly above or below national average.  Note, with all perceptual data the next step (particularly for below national average situations) is to assess if the perception is based in reality or misunderstanding.  This often requires the use of secondary data or supplemental market research to determine the answer.  But, knowing the answer is important before action planning because if the low score is due to misperception the solution is education not a new policy or program.

Remember, the data represents how residents in the specific state perceive dimension performance.  It is not somebody on the outside offering an opinion.  Consequently, even if you do not like the results it is important to understand why your residents perceive dimension performance as they do.

I’d like to offer special thanks to the Xavier University team for allowing me to share these data with you.

The Data

Above National Average

Oregon (index 104)

Nevada (index 103)

Arizona (index 103)

Utah (index 103)

Washington (index 103)

California (index 103)

New Jersey (index 102)

Texas (index 102)

Below National Average

New York (index 99)

Missouri (index 98)

Pennsylvania (index 97)

Iowa (index 96)

Wisconsin (index 96)

Virginia (index 96)

Rhode Island (index 94)

West Virginia (index 91)


If you are looking to live in a state where entrepreneurism is generally well accepted (and even encouraged), then you might check out one of the states from the above national average list.

If you are a business owner or CEO trying to decide between site locations in multiple states, then you might want to factor these data into your consideration.

If you are an elected official or economic development professional from a state on the below average list, you may want to run supplemental research to try and determine the barriers might be to embracing entrepreneurism.

Where is it easiest to achieve the American Dream?

Check out the Site Selection article that ranks all states and major MSAs based on the degree to which their residents perceive they are achieving their American Dream.  You will be able to see the performing states/MSAs for each dimension of the American Dream and overall.  Special thanks to Site Selection Magazine for their continuing support in helping bring these data to economic development professionals, elected officials and anybody else with an interest in better understanding the American Dream.

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