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Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure in the US

By 2030 SDG 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, aims to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation. This includes increasing investments in research and development (R&D), manufacturing, and upgrading our infrastructure in all sectors including transport and energy. It also means ensuring businesses and entrepreneurs have access to financial services and markets, and that everyone has access to affordable and reliable broadband internet and other information and communication technology.

Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure in the US in Context

In 2020 over $650 billion worth of research and development (R&D) took place in the US. (National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics). Private businesses, the federal government, nonfederal governments, higher education institutions, and nonprofit organizations all contribute to R&D spending, many of these organizations also conduct R&D activities.

In 2019, State Governments spent $2.4 billion on R&D, 45% of which went to health-related projects.

Innovation in the US

R&D spending by State Governments declined from 2018 to 2019 by $1 billion but still totaled over $2 billion (NCSES).

  • 77% of funding came from state and other non-federal sources.
  • 59% of funds went to Higher education institutions.
  • 45% of funds went to health-related projects.
  • Six states (California, New York, Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) account for 64% of total spending by state governments.

You can see how states compare per capita R&D spending using the interactive section of this report.


Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) releases America’s Infrastructure Scorecard. In the 2021 report, the nation receives an overall score of C-.

  • 42% of all bridges are at least 50 years old and 7.5% are considered to be in “poor” condition.
  • 43% of our public roadways are in poor or mediocre condition.

Information and Communication Technology in the US

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable across the country. The FCC releases regular reports on broadband internet available in the nation.

By 2020, they estimate that 14.5 million Americans didn’t have access to broadband, down from 21.3 million in 2019. However, there are widely accepted flaws in the collection of the data used to inform these reports (Broadband Now).

Broadband Now is an independent research organization focusing on internet plans, pricing, and availability.

As per data from the FCC and Internet Service Provider (ISPs), at least 42 million Americans lack access to broadband internet.

Older Americans, which is generally defined as the population ages 65 and above, are particularly affected by the lack of access to broadband access, and this lack of access affects their economic mobility.

On this original research sponsored by CWI Labs, we extracted insights from 83 knowledge sources and 2 data sources using human-assisted Natural Language Processing software. As a result, five factors emerged, correlating the lack of broadband access and the economic mobility of older Americans.

The findings matched results published by different experts, but a surprising factor behind the lack of adoption of broadband access is the lack of awareness among the 65+ population of the benefits of such access.

This published research showcases how AI can help understand large datasets related to informing Public Policy.

Explore more using the interactive tool sponsored by Keeper, Inc.

This interactive report is continuously updated and it is free thanks to Keeper, Inc. – Cybersecurity Platform.

Keeper is the leading cybersecurity platform for preventing password-related data breaches and cyber threats. Keeper manages passwords to prevent data breaches, improve employee productivity, cut helpdesk costs and meet compliance standards. Learn more about Keeper.

Explore Key Indicators and Organizations Related to Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
Darker states have higher government R&D spending. Click on any state to see details on this and other indicators. Red numbers indicate worse than national average.
Average State
R&D Spending
Per Capita
Average Percent of
Roads in Good or
Fair Condition
Average Share of State
Population with Access
to Broadband Internet
New Businesses Over Time
Social Funding for UN SDG-9
(forms 990 filed with the IRS)
Annual Income
Avg. Income
Research Institutes and Public Policy Organizations
Annual Income
Avg. Income
Science and Technology Organizations
Annual Income
Avg. Income
Revenue sources for these organizations
Top Nonprofit Organizations

The Economic Impact

The ASCE reports that our nation’s highways and roads move 72%, almost $17 trillion, of the nation’s goods. It’s estimated that deteriorating roads cost the nation’s motorists nearly $130 billion each year on extra vehicle repairs and operating costs.

Additionally, the US has a $786 billion backlog of road and bridge needs.

  • $435 billion for repairing existing roads.
  • $125 billion for bridge repair.
  • $120 billion for system expansion.
  • $105 billion for system enhancement.

Subject matter experts highlight the increasing digital gap as an urgent issue to address to keep our competitiveness in global markets and mitigate the inequalities created by the lack of access to technology. Among those ideas we have:

  • Remove the census block reporting and replacing it with address-level granularity as the national requirement for provider self-reporting. The FCC has relied on census blocks to generalize where service is and isn’t available in the U.S. for over a decade.
  • Update internet speed minimums. The current FCC broadband definition requires providers to provide at least 25 Mbps download speeds and 3 Mbps upload. BroadbandNow advocates for a new standard of at least 100 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload (Broadband Now).
  • The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is a Federal Communications Commission program designed to close the digital divide in the United States by investing billions of dollars in the construction of rural broadband networks.

Measures of success based on the targets and indicators determined by UN SDG 9 (SDG Tracker)

  • Access to and quality of roads.
  • The manufacturing sector’s contribution to a country’s total gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Small-scale enterprises access to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets.
  • Resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes.
  • Expenditure on research and development (R&D) activities.
  • The share of the population with access to mobile cellphones and using the internet (on any device).

Interactive charts sources:

  • Percent of Roads in Good Condition: X4Impact analysis of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics 2019 Data.
  • Broadband Access: BroadbandNow 2021
  • Business Applications 2007-2020: X4Impact analysis of U.S. Census and U.S. Department of Commerce Business Formation Statistics 2004-2020.
  • State R&D Investment: Survey of State Government Research and Development: FY 2019, National Science Foundation
  • Nonprofit-related data: X4Impact analysis of over one million forms 990 filed with the Internal Revenue Service -IRS 2018-2021

Other Sources:

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