Skip to content

R&D as a Percentage of Gross Domestic Product (Percent)

State Indicator S-41

This indicator represents the extent to which R&D plays a role in a state's economy. A high value indicates that a state has a high intensity of R&D activity or a major federal R&D facility, which may support future growth in knowledge-based industries. New Mexico commonly has the greatest value for this indicator by a significant margin due to the high concentration of R&D activities at two national laboratories in the state, combined with the state’s relatively small gross domestic product.

R&D performance refers to R&D activities conducted in the state by federal and state agencies, businesses, universities, and nonprofit organizations. R&D-performing organizations either fund their own R&D activities or receive funding from other organizations. For example, a considerable portion of academic R&D performance is funded by the federal government.

The statistics on U.S. R&D discussed in this section reflect the periodic National Patterns of R&D Resources reports and data series from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics within the National Science Foundation (NSF), which provide a comprehensive account of total U.S. R&D performance. The National Patterns data, in turn, derive from six major NSF surveys of the organizations that perform the bulk of U.S. R&D:

  • Business R&D and Innovation Survey
  • Higher Education Research and Development Survey
  • Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development
  • Survey of R&D Expenditures at Federally Funded R&D Centers
  • Survey of State Government Research and Development
  • Survey of Research and Development Funding and Performance by Nonprofit Organizations

The National Patterns analysis integrates R&D spending and funding data from these separate surveys into U.S. R&D performance totals, which are then reported on a calendar year basis and for the main performing sectors and funding sources.

Data sources: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, National Patterns of R&D Resources; U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Gross Domestic Product data; Government of Puerto Rico, Office of the Governor, Gross Domestic Product data.

  • 1st Quartile

    2.81%6.54%
  • 2nd Quartile

    2.02%2.79%
  • 3rd Quartile

    0.94%2.00%
  • 4th Quartile

    0.13%0.89%
  • No data

Footnote

NA = not available.

NOTES: R&D includes R&D performed by federal agencies, businesses, universities, other nonprofit organizations, federally funded research and development centers, and state agencies. U.S. total R&D reported here includes U.S. territories, as well as R&D for which the location could not be determined. The national GDP total for the United States includes Puerto Rico for all years in which data are available.

SOURCE: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, National Patterns of R&D Resources (various years), data as of October 2017; U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Gross Domestic Product data (various years), data as of May 2018; Government of Puerto Rico, Office of the Governor, Gross Domestic Product data (various years), data as of May 2017.

Recommended Citation: National Science Board. 2018. “R&D as a Percentage of Gross Domestic Product.” Science and Engineering Indicators 2018, State Indicators. Alexandria, VA: National Science Foundation (NSB-2018-1). https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/state-indicators/indicator/rd-performance-to-state-gdp

Last updated: September 27, 2018