Fact of the Week: US R&D Is Estimated To Have Increased to $792 Billion in 2021
Source: Gary Anderson, John Jankowski, and Mark Boroush, “U.S. R&D Increased by $51 Billion in 2020 to $717 Billion; Estimate for 2021 Indicates Further Increase to $792 Billion,” National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, January 4, 2023.
Commentary: The U.S. National Science Foundation estimates that U.S. research and development (R&D) increased to $792 billion in 2021, a 10.4 percent nominal increase from 2020 ($717 billion). However, the real increase is estimated to have only been 5.7 percent, the lowest real increase since 2016–2017. R&D intensity—R&D expenditures as a share of gross domestic product—remained unchanged at 3.4 percent.
The largest increase was in R&D funded by private businesses (12.9 percent in nominal terms, 8.1 percent in real terms), and the smallest increase was in R&D funded by higher education (3.7 percent nominal, -0.8 percent real). R&D expenditures also fell in real terms for R&D funded by governments and non-profit organizations (-0.6 percent and -0.3 percent, respectively).
Note: These figures are based on some estimates that are subject to future revisions.