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Just the Facts: Foreign Aid vs. Military Spending

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The U.S. spends piles of money on foreign aid, right? See how the spending actually stacks up.

[PDF poster version below.]

We’ve Got Deep Pockets
for Military Spending
Military spending worldwide is $1.47 trillion.
The U.S. spends 48% of that.
We’re tops per capita, too.


But We’re Generous with Foreign Aid, Aren’t We? No

The U.S., with 300 million people, gives away $23.5 billion in non-military aid to developing countries. But the 333 million people in the next four countries spend almost double: $44.7 billion.

Who Gets Our Aid?
We give the same amount of money to our top 5 aid recipients (194 million people) as we give to the rest of the world (6 billion people).



“The FY 2009 Pentagon Spending Request — Global Military Spending,” Christopher Hellman and Travis Sharp, The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, 22 Feb. 2008,

U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants (GreenBook),, accessed 27 Mar. 2008.

“Historical Tables — Budget of the United States Government Fiscal Year 2009,” p154-155, [PDF 2.4MB]

“Final Oda Flows In 2006,” Development Co-Operation Directorate Development Assistance Committee, 10 Dec. 2007, [PDF 331KB]


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Research and graphics by Noah Grant on Just the Facts for A Just Foreign Policy, the Summer 2008 issue of YES! Magazine. Noah is a YES! editorial assistant.

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