Polls have consistently found that Americans believe around a quarter of the U.S. budget goes to foreign aid, and respondents say we ought to spend at most half that much. In fact, foreign aid accounts for about 1.1 percent of the budget.
In absolute terms, the U.S. is the world’s most generous country, but as a percentage of national income, our foreign aid budget is stingier than that of any wealthy country but South Korea. Great Britain and France each spend at about twice the rate of the United States, where foreign aid outlays come to less than 40 cents per citizen per day.
More from this week’s in-depth briefing: Aid to to the world