Illinois Innovation Facts & Figures
The state of Illinois is a national hub for innovation. From world-renowned research universities; to an expansive business community; to a vibrant startup ecosystem; Illinois is propelling the nation forward through new ideas. Click through the facts and figures below to learn more about Illinois’ innovation community.
- With a highly diverse economy, vibrant university and entrepreneurial community, world-class logistics and transportation infrastructure, Illinois connects cutting-edge research and a highly skilled workforce to turn ideas into new products and companies.
- Our legacy of innovation includes the cell phone, the ultrasound, the light-emitting diode (LED), the web browser, and game-changing medications.
- Illinois is the 5th largest economy in the US – roughly the size of the Netherlands.
- In Chicago, no single industry employs more than 12% of the workforce, making it the most diversified economy in the U.S. (WBC)
- Illinois is home to the global headquarters of 34 Fortune 500 companies, the 4th largest concentration in the U.S. (Fortune)
- In 2016, Illinois produced a record 40,400 STEM graduates, making up nearly 32% of all grads, compared with 28% nationally. (Illinois Innovation Index)
- Our growth – driven largely by health and computer science degrees – has outpaced the nation, growing 10.6% annually from 2012 to 2016, compared with 6.5% nationally. (Illinois Innovation Index)
- Illinois is the country’s second largest producer of computer science degrees – reaching a record 3,273 degrees in 2016 and more than doubling over the last five years. Though Illinois produces just 4.4% of all grads, the state produces almost 10% of the nation’s computer science grads. (Illinois Innovation Index)
- Illinois produces the fourth most MBAs nationally, and Chicago is home to the top two MBA programs in the world, according to The Economist. (Illinois Innovation Index)
- International students are significant contributors to Illinois’ STEM growth with non-residents making up 35.1% of non-health STEM degrees and a staggering 49.9% of all computer science degrees awarded in the state. (Illinois Innovation Index)
Research & Development
- Illinois is home to 11 research universities with more than $15 million in academic R&D. Overall, universities in the state conduct $2.4 billion in total academic research yearly. (Illinois Innovation Index)
- Illinois is home to two federally-funded research and development centers — Argonne and Fermilab — boasting a combined $1 billion in R&D annually. (Illinois Innovation Index)
- With the support of over 300 corporate innovation facilities in the Chicago-area, Illinois businesses conduct over $12 billion in R&D activity every year. (Illinois Innovation Index)
- Illinois produced 942 university-supported startups from 2013-2017, more than twice as many as during the previous five-year period, and more than 80% of active startups remain in Illinois. (Illinois Innovation Index)
- Illinois’ universities support innovation through 10 university incubation and tech parks across the state. (Illinois Innovation Network)
- Illinois universities support their startups through eight university-supported funds designed to catalyze small business growth and research commercialization. (ISTC)
Capital & Startup Ecosystem
- Growth-stage companies in Illinois have received nearly half a billion dollars in SBIR/STTR over the last decade. (SBIR.gov)
- Startups in Chicago received $1.9 billion in venture funding activity in 2017, accounting for bulk of Great Lakes activity. (Hyde Park Angels)
- The Illinois innovation community supports startups through more than 20 angel investment groups and 70 venture capital funds. (Illinois Innovation Network)
- There are nearly 50 incubators and 30 accelerators in Illinois, including those focused on health, food, tech, social, and underrepresented groups. (Illinois Innovation Network)
- Illinois is a connector to the world, with 100 million passengers passing through Chicago airports each year. (Chicago Department of Aviation)
- Illinois welcomed 110 million visitors in 2016, including more than 50 million tourists visits to Chicago. (Enjoy Illinois, Choose Chicago)
- 99.75% of Illinois residence have access to broadband internet, with an average speed 31.5 mbps statewide. (FCC)
Food & Agriculture
- Illinois is a national leader in food & ag innovation, ranking first nationally for food related patents. (USPTO, ISTC Analysis)
- Capital in 30% of venture capital funds in Illinois invest in food companies. (ISTC Analysis)
- Agriculture is a pillar of Illinois’ economy, with over 300,000 agriculture and related industry jobs in the state. (Farm Illinois, ISTC Analysis)
- Investment in ag innovation is growing in the state, with $3.2B was invested in AgTech in Illinois in 2016. (AgFunder, ISTC Analysis)
Health & Life Sciences
- Health and life sciences are a key-driver of the state’s economy, with nearly 600,000 employed and $99 billion in economic output. (ISTC Analysis)
- The Illinois Medical District is the largest urban medical district in the nation, with $3.4B in economic activity and 50,000 daily visitors. (ISTC Analysis)
- Lake County, IL boasts more than 100 biotech and pharmaceutical companies, including 10 corporate headquarters, the largest concentration in the Midwest. (Lake County Partners)
Energy and Smart Grid
- Illinois has legislated $3.2B in smart grid upgrades, including $22.5M legislated to Energy Foundry to fund early-stage clean tech and smart grid-enabled startups.
- Illinois leads the Midwest with nearly 114,000 clean energy jobs. (Clean Energy Trust)
- The Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) at Argonne National Laboratory has been awarded $120M from the Department of Energy for energy storage research, resulting in more than 250 publications, 55 invention disclosures, and 30 patent applications. (JCESR)
Web and Mobile
- Chicago web and mobile startups received $1.7B in venture capital funding in 2016, with 179 companies funded. (Built In Chicago)
- 2016 resulted in more exits for tech startups in Chicago than any other year on record. (Built In Chicago)
- The International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern University represents and unites more than $1 billion in nanotechnology research, educational programs, and supporting infrastructure. (International Institute for Nanotechnology)
- Illinois is home to over 160 nanotechnology focused companies and research institutions, including 11 research centers dedicated to nanoscience and nanotechnology. (Illinois Science & Technology Roadmap)
- Two of the world’s fastest supercomputers — Argonne’s MIRA and NCSA’s Blue Waters — are based in Illinois. (Top 500)
- Illinois is home to one of the largest data centers in the world (1.1 millions sq.ft.) and has the third most powerful fiber optic infrastructure in the nation, with a transmitting capacity of 7.96 terabytes. (Crain’s Chicago Business)
- Illinois manufacturing industry employs over 570,000 and produces $100B in output annually. (National Association of Manufacturing)
- Illinois is a national leader in advanced manufacturing, with innovation centers UI LABS and mHUB located in Chicago.