Chris Blattman

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In case you thought most foreign aid went to poor people, let me depress you with one great map


USaidmoneyHowMuchA beautiful graphic by Raul Amoros. Hat tip @d_wlkr.

If you’re burning to explain this madness, and want to go beyond “U.S. interests in oil, invasions, drugs and Israel”, then here are the four articles I recommend to my SIPA class:

166 Responses

  1. As far as I know, there is more funding for humanitarian aid than there is for military aid. This map just shows that Israel gets more aid than others. Most aid to Israel is military aid. Afghanistan gets a similar amount and that’s why I would like to see what data is used in creating this map which seems to have an agenda in singling out Israel. Aside from not being accurate according to what I find it distorts information. Just because Israel gets a lot of military funding doesn’t mean that much more US money is spent on humanitarian efforts as well.

  2. The map is not clear on what it means by ‘economic assistance’- I wish they would have explained what that includes and what it does not include.
    For example, it seems like this is only bilateral aid, not aid through grants, for example, to support UN agency programmes in specific countries- that would explain the lack of Sudan on the map. Sudan receives upwards of 50 million a year from the US in aid, only that aid doesn’t pass through the government of Sudan, but other multilateral agencies.

  3. The map has some pretty major and misleading aspects, so I am surprised that a professor would post it. The numbers used in the map are estimates and since actual 2014 data is not reported yet, they are wrong. You should look at the actual 2013 data to get an understanding of where the money has gone:
    -Afghanistan received the most aid with $4.5B
    -It is missing the $1B in aid to Palestine
    -Label says “economic aid” but map shows military aid and economic aid. (Israel receives a paltry $17m in economic aid compared to the $3.9B in economic aid to the rest of the middle east.)
    -US gives aid to 194 countries.

    Check out these interactive maps with the official data:

  4. This graphic, no doubt deals with US government (tax payer funded) foreign aid. I would like to see a similar graphic, with foreign aid, paid for by American private sector charitable organizations. I believe you will find a different outcome.

  5. At least those countries are on the map. There are countries like Burundi or Madagascar (which I come from) which are not even on the map. People die from sickness, poverty or conflicts in these parts of the world and nobody ever cared. If you are from a red or pink country, at least you get something

  6. I actually don’t love this map. I’m unclear on what “economic assistance” includes, or exactly where the numbers come from or how they’re being interpreted. It would be very interesting to see how they compare to OECD-DAC data. I don’t doubt the overall message here, but there’s a lot it doesn’t tell us, too.

  7. The graph is confusing. Why is Joran pink with 1 billion, but Afganistan is red with 1.1 billion? Also, the key doesn’t say if the colors represent millions or billions. El Salvador is pink, because we are funding a war there. It has nothing to do with poverty, just like everywhere else. But how did Afganistan rate a red?

  8. Well since they took a big chunk out of Israel they might as well label that white space Palestine/West Bank and include the $5Billion dollars they receive in foreign aid.

  9. Nothing given to Botswana (no surprise), Namibia (bit of a surprise) or Angola (probably because of China).

  10. a very informative #infograph , yet the palestinian authority is not shown, but its also problematic to draw, its not a state, it needs to be drawn as an archipelago, but it would be also nice to see it for comparison, as aid to israel is 3 folds the whole GDP of palestinians in the oPt …