How Much Do Countries Spend on Healthcare Compared to the Military?

by visualcapitalist

Country Health versus Miitary Spending

Healthcare vs. Military Spending, by Country

Keeping citizens both healthy and secure are key priorities for many national governments around the world—but ultimately, decisions must be made on how tax dollars are spent to accomplish these objectives, and funding must fall into one bucket or another.

This infographic from PixlParade examines how much 46 different countries put towards healthcare and military spending in 2018, per capita.

Head to Head: Healthcare versus Military

Data for government and compulsory healthcare spending comes from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Note that these figures do not include spending through private insurance or out-of-pocket expenses.

Meanwhile, the data for military spending comes from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Country Health spending (Per capita, 2018 US$) Military spending (Per capita, 2018 US$)
U.S. $9,008.77 $2,086.50
Norway $5,361.00 $1,323.90
Germany $5,262.83 $559.50
Switzerland $4,687.26 $546.00
Sweden $4,623.68 $574.90
Netherlands $4,461.30 $651.50
Denmark $4,441.07 $792.50
Luxembourg $4,385.66 $650.80
France $4,310.55 $791.00
Austria $4,137.25 $381.00
Source: OECD Source: SIPRI

Note: There are minor discrepancies in comparing table data to original sources due to recent estimate updates. Figures for Brazil, South Africa, China, Indonesia, and India come from the World Bank (2017).

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The Top 10 Healthcare Spenders

The U.S. leads the world in government healthcare spending at $9,008 per capita – over 1.5 times that of Norway, the next-highest country examined.

Country Per capita health spending % of GDP % of health spending
U.S. $9,008.77 14.3% 84.7%
Norway $5,361.00 8.6% 85.3%
Germany $5,262.83 9.7% 84.6%
Switzerland $4,687.26 7.6% 64.4%
Sweden $4,623.68 9.3% 85.1%
Netherlands $4,461.30 8.2% 82.1%
Denmark $4,441.07 8.5% 83.9%
Luxembourg $4,385.66 4.4% 84.1%
France $4,310.55 9.4% 83.6%
Austria $4,137.25 7.7% 74.7%

While per-capita government spending on healthcare in the U.S. is the highest in the world, this has not necessarily brought about better outcomes (such as longer life expectancy) compared to other developed nations.

It’s also worth mentioning that the above figures do not cover all healthcare costs incurred by citizens, as they do not account for private insurance spending or out-of-pocket expenses. According to OECD data, these additional costs tend to be the highest in places like Switzerland and the United States.

The Top 10 Military Spenders

Israel has the highest rate of military spending per capita, and has the distinction of being the only country on this list to invest more in defense than in healthcare.

Country Per capita military spending % of GDP Total expenditure, US$M
Israel $2,357.50 5.3% $19,759M
U.S. $2,086.50 3.3% $682,491M
Norway $1,323.90 1.6% $7,067M
Australia $1,078.00 1.9% $26,840M
South Korea $841.70 2.5% $43,070M
Denmark $792.50 1.3% $4,559M
France $791.00 1.3% $51,410M
UK $743.10 1.8% $49,892M
Finland $680.30 1.4% $3,757M
Netherlands $651.50 1.2% $11,115M

Although the United States comes in second place here as well, in absolute terms, the U.S. puts more money into military expenditures than many other countries combined, at almost $700 billion per year.




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