U.S. research workforce lags by some measures

Scientists’ share of total employment is lower than in many other countries

Employment graph

UNDEREMPLOYED  Globally, the United States ranks 17th  in scientists' share of total employment.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, adapted by M. Telfer

China and the United States have impressive armies of science and engineering researchers. In 2011, the most recent year for which data are available, the two countries boasted the largest numbers employed in these fields, with 1.32 million researchers in China and 1.25 million in the United States.

But some small countries punch far above their weight, with researchers representing a higher fraction of all people employed. At the top, Finland’s 40,000 researchers make up 1.48 percent of its whole workforce. The best performer per capita in East Asia is Taiwan, followed closely by South Korea.

Ranked by this measure, the United States falls to 17th overall and China to 35th.

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