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Useful Stats: 2019 Business R&D intensity by state

December 16, 2021
By: Colin Edwards

Business research and development (R&D) intensity — private sector R&D expenditures as a percentage of total gross domestic product (GDP) — is an indicator of how interested businesses are in creating new products and processes. This edition of Useful Stats expands upon previous SSTI analyses of business R&D and applies the more standardized measure of “R&D intensity” to provide additional context on the private sector’s activities within states.

Nationally in 2019, total business R&D expenditures accounted for 2.3 percent of total GDP. As seen in the map below, the states with the greatest business enterprise R&D (BERD) intensity in 2019 were Washington (6.2 percent), California (5.6 percent), Massachusetts (5.2 percent), Michigan (4.0 percent), and Idaho (3.3 percent). The yellow shading in the map shows that the states with the lowest levels of BERD intensity in 2019 were the District of Columbia (0.3 percent), Mississippi (0.3 percent), Louisiana (0.3 percent), Hawaii (0.2 percent), and Alaska (0.1 percent).

While this distribution of business R&D intensity among the states closely resembles that of total business R&D expenditures (shown in the map below from previous SSTI analysis), there are some noticeable differences. As measured by intensity rather than raw business R&D spending in 2019, New York and Texas had relatively much lower levels of business R&D activity. Idaho, Indiana, and several other central states had relatively higher levels of business R&D intensity than R&D spending in 2019.

Click here for the data used in this analysis.

useful stats, r&d