The Economic Impact of Life Science in California

Biocom California’s 2022 Life Science Economic Impact Report provides key economic, demographic, and industry performance data and analysis for the life science industry in the state and across 12 selected sub-clusters in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego.

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Over the last few years, and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the life science industry experienced an influx of investment interest and NIH funding for the sector. It’s clear the work the industry does every day has a significant impact on California, providing high-paying jobs directly and indirectly across the state.

Joe Panetta

President and CEO, Biocom California


California At-A-Glance

California experienced a 5.8 percent increase in life science jobs in 2021 compared to the national average of 3.9. Investment in life sciences in California reached record levels in 2021. VC investment, NIH and NSF funding alone topped $22 billion in 2021.


Bay Area Life Science Industry

The Bay Area represents a total workforce of approximately 4.2 million people, 146,000 of them in life sciences, and consists of nine counties surrounding the San Francisco Bay. Life science jobs in the Bay Area pay an average of $148,167 and represent a regional economic impact of $150.9 billion.


Greater Los Angeles Life Science Industry

The Los Angeles Cluster employs 91,633 total direct life science employees and receives the most NIH and NSF funding of any county in California. The life science industry is a significant contributor to the region with over $87 billion in economic impact in 2021.


Orange County Life Science Industry

Orange County had a workforce of 1.67 million people in 2021, with over 60,000 directly employed in the life science industry. Medical Devices and Equipment was the largest sub-sector, and Biotechnology and Food & Ag Tech were areas of high year-over-year growth.


San Diego Life Science Industry

San Diego County’s life science workforce consists of over 71,000 direct employees, pays an average annual wage of $149,528, and represents a regional economic impact of $49.8 billion. The largest sector of life science jobs growth was in Biotechnology, which increased its San Diego workforce by 18% in 2021.