General Science and Engineering Indicators
Selected Education Indicators
Selected Global Marketplace Indicators
The United States had the second largest R&D/
ratio among the
countries, spending about 2.6% of GDP on R&D activities in 2006.
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Why is this indicator important?
The ratio of R&D expenditures to GDP is often used to examine R&D as a proportion of a nation's overall economic activity.
This ratio is a useful indicator of the "intensity" of R&D activity in relation to other economic activities and can be used to gauge a nation's commitment to R&D at different points in time.
Rate of growth for Germany increased by 0.33 from 1994 to 2005, while the United States increased by 0.20 during that same period.
Since 2000, Japan continues to lead while China demonstrates the biggest growth.
The general growth in the U.S. R&D/GDP ratio since 1979 can be attributed to a steady increase in non-Federal R&D spending.
Growth in the R&D/GDP ratio does not necessarily imply increased R&D expenditures. For an extended discussion on the R&D/GDP ratio see
In absolute terms, this indicator can mask signiﬁcant R&D activity for countries with relatively large economies (e.g., China).