Research Takes Cents

Research!America's signature Research Takes Cents compare selected consumer spending to the costs associated with conducting research. Research Takes Cents examples are easy to drop into a conversation, and they are particularly effective when used in presentations with images.


General Topics


The combined salaries of the top ten highest-paid athletes in 2014 totaled more than $640 million - enough to fund all NIH-sponsored head and spine injury research for more than 3.5 years.

Sources: Forbes, NIH



In 2014, Americans spent $48 billion on coffee, which is enough money to fund all NIH-sponsored sleep research for over 200 years.

Sources: Food Navigator, NIH


Cosmetic Surgery

In 2014, Americans spent $14 billion on elective cosmetic surgeries, outspending the National Institute on Aging by more than 11 to 1.

Sources: IBIS World, NIA



In 2014, the National Football League’s revenue was estimated to be $9.5 billion, or about 1.7 times the amount of funding that NIH-sponsored Neuroscience research received that year.

Sources: Bloomberg, NIH


Home Entertainment

Americans spent $17.8 billion on home entertainment in 2014, an amount that could fund the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders for 54 years.

Sources: Statista, NIH


Ice Cream

In 2014, spending on ice cream was $8 billion - five times the total funding for NIH-sponsored nutrition research in the U.S. in FY14.

Sources: IBIS World, NIH


In 2014, the profits of the top 10 grossing movies totaled $2.5 billion – equivalent to 3 years worth of funding for NIH-sponsored research for eye disease and disorders of vision.

Sources: The Numbers, NIH


Spending on Electronics

The highest valued American company, Apple, is estimated at nearly $700 billion – enough money to fund all NIH-sponsored cancer research for 130 years.

Sources: The Guardian, NIH


Sporting Goods

In 2014, Americans spent $48 billion on sporting goods, more than the combined budgets for the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Science Foundation, and the Food and Drug Administration.

Sources: IBIS World, American Association for the Advancement of Science


The estimated value of the tobacco market is more than $40 billion, enough to fund NIH-sponsored research on lung cancer for more than 192 years.

Sources: IBIS World, NIH


Video Games

The $4 billion Americans spent on video game rentals in 2014 could fund all of the NIH sponsored research on depression, suicide and violence for more than 6 years.

Sources: IBIS World, NIH


Women's Clothes

The $48 billion Americans spent in one year on women’s clothes could fund all of the NIH-sponsored research for women’s health for more than 12 years.

Sources: IBIS World, NIH



4th of July

The $675 million spent on consumer fireworks in 2014 could fund all of the NIH’s childhood injury study programs for more than 17 years.

Sources: American Pyrotechnic Association, NIH

Father's Day

In 2014, Americans spent $12.5 billion on gifts for Father’s Day - equivalent to 21 years worth of funding for NIH-sponsored prostate and colorectal cancer research.

Sources: National Retail Federation, NIH


Summer Camp

Last summer more than $3 billion was spent on summer camp for children - the amount needed to support the NIH’s pediatric research program for a full year.

Sources: IBIS World, NIH



In 2014, an estimated $2.4 billion was spent on food for Thanksgiving, which outspent the entire Food and Drug Administration budget for monitoring the safety of the food Americans consume by about 3 to 1.

Sources: Statistic Brain, FDA


Valentine's Day

In 2014, Americans spent an estimated $37 billion on Valentine’s Day – equivalent to 22 times the total funding for NIH-sponsored heart disease research that year.

Sources: American Express, NIH


Winter Weather

Americans spent enough money on snowplow services in 2014 to fund all NIH-sponsored research on Pneumonia and Influenza for 42 years.

Sources: IBIS World, NIH

If concerted, long-term investments in research are not made, America will lose an entire generation of young scientists.
Brenda Canine, PhD; McLaughlin Research Institute, Montana