About This Chart

This interactive chart plots data on Inc. 500 firms by Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, for each year from 2001 to 2010. If you are interested in looking at the underlying data, be sure you look at The Ascent of America's High-Growth Companies: An Analysis of the Geography of Entrepreneurship (PDF). You can change how the chart displays by tweaking four different variable settings:

Count – the raw number of Inc. 500 firms in each state
Score – the number of Inc. 500 firms weighted by state population (in millions)
Population – MSA population scaled logarithmically
Pop.Growth – MSA population growth over time, scaled logarithmically and distributed from ranks 1 through 5

The default setting we've selected is to plot the Count on the x-axis and Score on the y-axis. The circles have two variable settings—color and size. The default setting uses 1-5 population growth groupings (Pop.Growth) for color, with blue as the lowest and red as the highest, and scaled population (Population) for the size.

To read the default chart, the further right a circle appears on the x-axis, the greater that MSA's raw Inc. 500 count; the higher up a circle is on the y-axis, the higher that MSA's per capita Inc. 500 count. You can click a MSA or MSAs (under "Select") to highlight the movement of specific state. There are drop-down menus next to the axes and color and size settings where you can change any of the default settings.