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U.S. Research & Development Concentrated in a Few States

April 1996

Just under half of the nation's research and development (R&D) spending is concentrated in six states, according to a recent report from the Science Resources Studies (SRS) Division.

R&D in California, New York, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania amounted to $82 billion in 1993. The nation as a whole spent $166 billion that year.

Furthermore, the top ten states (the six plus Maryland, Texas, Illinois, and Ohio), have a combined R&D expenditure of close to $110 billion, two-thirds of the total.

The uneven distribution is even more apparent when more states are included in the count.

"The 20 states with the largest total U.S. R&D expenditures collectively account for 87 percent of the R&D conducted nationwide; the 20 states with the smallest shares, for just 4 percent of the total," writes John E. Jankowski, Jr., Director of the R&D Statistics Program in SRS.

The report uses the recently produced 51 State Science & Engineering Profiles (including the District of Columbia) to compare R&D expenditures among states. In addition to listing overall R&D spending, the report analyzes spending by industry, academia, Federal government, and federally funded R&D activities of nonprofit institutions within each state.

Not coincidentally, states that rank near the top in total R&D spending are usually the leading sites of industrial, Federal, and academic expenditures.

For example, California, which ranks number one in total R&D spending, also takes the top rank in industry and academic spending. Maryland, which ranks seventh in overall R&D expenditures, is first in Federal government expenditures and fourth in academic expenditures.

SRS researchers also compare each state's R&D expenditures with the size of the state's economy, or its gross state product (GSP). This ranking put New Mexico at the top of the list with 8.1% of its GSP going into R&D.

"The high research intensity of New Mexico's economy grew primarily from the considerable Federal support provided by the Department of Energy to several federally funded R&D centers located in the state," Jankowski writes.

California, which ranked first in total, industrial, and academic R&D spending, ranked seventh in terms of R&D intensity, with a R&D/GSP ratio of 4.3%.

For a copy of this data brief, call SRS at (703) 292-8774 or visit NSF's Web site: http://www.nsf.gov

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