In 2019, the United States spent 18.7 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on social benefits for the needy, such as cash aid, in-kind goods and services and tax breaks. Countries such as France and Denmark spend far more of a share of their GDP on social programs.

Source: “Social spending,” Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, accessed Dec. 17, 2020,

Data for the graphic are as follows:

Country Percentage of Spending on Social Benefits
Switzerland 15.9%
Netherlands 16.1%
Australia 16.7%
Canada 18%
United States 18.7%
United Kingdom 20.6%
Japan 22.3%
Germany 25.9%
Denmark 28.3%
France 31%

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