Monday, December 06, 2010

The U.S.'s REAL Foreign Aid Budget

One of The Borgen Project’s main talking points is about the high number of Americans who misconceive how large our government’s foreign aid budget is. It is significantly lower than most would think. The above graph, from GOOD magazine, is a fairly accurate depiction of the public’s misconception of U.S. foreign aid.

On average, Americans believe that 20% of the federal budget goes to foreign aid. In reality, just about 0.2% of the U.S.’s gross national income goes to improving living conditions for the world's poor. This figure is especially disappointing in comparison with other wealthy nations’ foreign aid budgets. In 1970, developed countries agreed to give 0.7% of their gross national incomes as foreign aid. Countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden have exceeded this agreed minimum. The U.S. is ranked towards the bottom in terms of its overall spending on foreign aid.

-Clare Ortblad