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News Release 16-118

Half of U.S. business R&D concentrated in five states

California alone accounted for 30 percent, according to latest figures

California alone accounted for $77 billion, or 30 percent, of self-funded business R&D.

California alone accounted for $77 billion, or 30 percent, of self-funded business R&D.

October 3, 2016

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Five states accounted for just over half of the $255 billion of research and development (R&D) companies paid for and performed in the United States in 2013, according to a new report from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.

Business R&D is geographically concentrated in the United States to a greater degree than either gross domestic product (GDP) or population. The five states with the highest levels of business R&D performance -- California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas and Washington -- accounted for $133 billion, or 52 percent, of the total.

California alone accounted for $77 billion, or 30 percent, of self-funded business R&D -- up from 25 percent five years ago. Between 2008 and 2013, California's R&D performance grew at a faster pace than its economy as a whole, resulting in its R&D intensity -- its ratio of business R&D to GDP -- increasing from 2.8 percent to 3.5 percent.

Texas and New York had R&D intensities substantially below that of the nation as a whole, reflecting their higher concentration of less-R&D-intensive industries: oil and gas extraction in Texas and financial services in New York.

The top 10 states for R&D paid for and performed by U.S. companies are:

  • California -- $77 billion.
  • Massachusetts -- $14 billion.
  • Michigan -- $14 billion.
  • Washington -- $14 billion.
  • Texas -- $13 billion.
  • Illinois -- $12 billion.
  • New Jersey -- $12 billion.
  • Pennsylvania -- $10 billion.
  • New York -- $9 billion.
  • Minnesota -- $6 billion.

In four of the top 10 states, a single industry dominated business R&D. For Michigan, that industry was automobile manufacturing, which accounts for 74 percent of its total. Software publishers accounted for 62 percent of Washington's total, and the pharmaceutical industry for 53 percent and 48 percent of New Jersey's and Pennsylvania's totals, respectively.

In addition to state data, the report also contained data on geographic areas with the largest amount of self-funded business R&D performance. The top three areas are:

  • San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland.
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach.
  • Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia.

The largest R&D industries represented in these areas vary. Computer and electronics manufacturing dominated the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland area, while information technology and aerospace companies dominated the Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia area. For Los Angeles-Long Beach, no single industry accounted for a disproportionately large share of its R&D performance.

For more information, including the business R&D performance levels for all 50 states, read the full report.


Media Contacts
Rob Margetta, NSF, (703) 292-2663, email:

Program Contacts
Raymond M. Wolfe, NSF, (703) 292-7789, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2019, its budget is $8.1 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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