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Southern California Technology Innovation Index Released

October 27, 2000

With the goal of developing a common technology agenda among the region’s leaders, the Los Angeles Regional Technology Alliance (larta) has compiled its first regional innovation index benchmarking the area’s strengths and weaknesses in S&T. The Southern California Technology Innovation Index compares the five-county Los Angeles consolidated metropolitan statistical area with the California Bay Area (San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose), Austin, Texas, and Massachusetts. The San Diego and Santa Barbara metro areas are not included in the definition of Southern California.

The Index presents aggregated and standardized data for 20 indicators across three categories — economic vitality, innovation, and resources. Several areas of strength and others in need of improvement are identified in the process. For example:

  • Southern California edges out Austin in total technology employment and greatly surpasses the other three regions in total number of technology firms.
  • Per capita venture capital investments are only $147 in Southern California. The highest per capita investments were reported for Silicon Valley at $1, 954. Venture capital investments per capita in Austin totaled $76 and $595 in Massachusetts.

The Southern California region has a total population 14 times larger than Austin and roughly 2.5 times the other two regions under consideration. Of the four regions, Southern California has the greatest real number of institutions of higher education and the most science and engineering students. Science and engineering students, however, comprise 2-3 times more of the residents in the other three regions as they do in Southern California.

While the Index does not present any concluding policy recommendations, discussions of the importance of each indicator and Southern California’s comparative performance are included. larta plans to prepare the index annually.

Copies of the Southern California Technology Innovation Index can be downloaded from http://www.larta.org