The Economist is my favorite publication. Its special report on the US Midwest was so good I had to write about it.
I consider myself well-versed in business chatter, but the facts definitely surprised me. In my defense, I have an excuse: I’m Canadian 😂
It’s overlooked, but it’s huge
As our colleague Zack has noted, as of 2018, the Midwest was responsible for ~20% of America’s GDP, but it received only 5% of venture funding.
With a total population of 68m, the 12-state region’s total GDP (~$4 trillion) is larger than either Germany or the UK. 👀
And it’s home to monster companies
Many rank at the top of their sectors in the US:
- Caterpillar (market cap = $73B) is one of the 6 largest industrial companies.
- General Motors ($38B) and Ford ($27B) are the largest non-Elon Musk owned car makers.
- Procter & Gamble ($329B) is the 2nd-largest consumer defensive firm (after Walmart).
- UnitedHealth Group ($298B) is the 2nd-largest healthcare company (after Johnson & Johnson).
It’s got serious brain power, too
We’re talking “16 of the country’s 50 top-ranked medical schools, five of the 25 best computer-science ones, and 17 of 63 leading research universities,” The Economist says.
Big Ten universities pull in annual research funds of $10.6B (more than the combined haul of the Ivy League and California universities).
A 2019 Brookings Institution report argued that money and resources should be spread to new innovation hubs. Six of the report’s top 15 “potential growth centers” were Midwestern:
- Madison, Wisconsin
- Minneapolis-St.Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota
- Columbus, Ohio
- The Chicago metro area
- Akron, Ohio
- St. Louis, Missouri
To paraphrase 19th-century newspaperman Horace Greeley: “Go Midwest, young man.”
Thank you Steve Case for re-tweeting the brief!