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Which Countries Receive the Most Foreign Aid from the U.S.?

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Which Countries Receive the Most Foreign Aid From the U.S.?

The United States provided more than $50 billion in aid to over 150 countries and territories, regional funds, and NGOs in 2021.

Each year, Congress appropriates foreign assistance based on national security, commercial, and humanitarian interests.

In this map, USAFacts uses data from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to highlight the countries that received the largest portion of aid.

Food Assistance and the War on Drugs

In 2021, the U.S. directed its aid towards nations grappling with internal conflicts and humanitarian crises.

Following the withdrawal of American troops that same year, Afghanistan emerged as the primary recipient of substantial aid, receiving billions of dollars annually as part of the humanitarian response.

CountryAssistance (USD)Top Activity
🇦🇫 Afghanistan$1.5 billionHumanitarian Assistance
🇪🇹 Ethiopia $1.4 billionEmergency Food Assistance
🇯🇴 Jordan $1.3 billion Cash Transfer
🇾🇪 Yemen$1.1 billion Emergency Food Assistance
🇸🇸 South Sudan$1.0 billion Emergency Food Assistance
🇨🇩 DRC $891 millionEmergency Food Assistance
🇸🇾 Syria$844 millionHumanitarian Assistance
🇳🇬 Nigeria $828 millionGlobal Health Supply Chain
🇨🇴 Colombia $761 millionCounter-Narcotics
🇸🇩 Sudan$620 millionEmergency Food Assistance

Among the top countries benefiting from U.S. assistance are various African nations contending with both famine and internal conflicts. Notably, Colombia stands out in the top 10, receiving millions of dollars to combat drug trafficking.

Israel Leading in Aid Over Time

Since the end of World War II, the U.S. has disbursed more than $3.75 trillion in foreign aid (adjusted for inflation).

The post-war years saw foreign aid peak, primarily because of the Marshall Plan. This initiative aimed to assist in restoring the economic infrastructure of post-war Europe.

At its height in 1949, U.S. foreign aid totaled nearly $100 billion.

Israel has been by far the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance. Since the 1940s, Israel has received more than $300 billion, with most of it in military support, aiding the country in developing a missile defense system and other projects.

us foreign aid, top 5 countries over time

The primary reason for this foreign aid has been to guarantee U.S. interests in the region, given Israel’s proximity to Syria to the northeast, Hezbollah-influenced Lebanon to the north, and an Islamist insurgency in Egypt’s Sinai to the south.

After a two-decade conflict that took millions of Vietnamese lives and roughly 58,000 American lives, Vietnam is Washington’s second-largest recipient of financial support. This money is used for economic and technological cooperation, military support, and even to aid cleanup efforts from the U.S. military’s use of Agent Orange in Vietnam during the war.

Since 1975, Egypt has been a significant recipient of substantial foreign aid from the United States, primarily as part of diplomatic efforts to mitigate tensions in the Arab-Israeli context.

Washington also sent large aid packages to South Vietnam, South Korea, and other countries during the Cold War.

Since 2003, much of the money has been directed toward Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

The Debate Surrounding U.S. Foreign Aid

According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, foreign aid can serve as a means to bolster the United States’ global influence, tackle worldwide challenges, and advance common values.

Nonetheless, the same report reveals that certain Americans and Members of Congress consider foreign aid an expenditure the country cannot afford, given current budget deficits and competing budget priorities.

In 2021, U.S. assistance to other countries accounted for around 0.7% of the federal government’s total expenditures.

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Politics

Which Countries Have the Most Economic Influence in Southeast Asia?

One country dominates this survey of who has the most economic influence in the region.

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A cropped bar chart depicting the countries/ regions identified by respondents as having the greatest economic influence in Southeast Asia.

Countries With the Most Economic Influence in Southeast Asia

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

This chart visualizes the results of a 2024 survey conducted by the ASEAN Studies Centre at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.

Nearly 2,000 respondents from 10 countries were asked to select which country/region they believe has the most influential economic power in Southeast Asia.

The countries surveyed are all member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a political and economic union of 10 countries in Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia Perceptions: Who’s Got Economic Influence?

Across all ASEAN nations, China is regarded as the region’s most influential economic power.

Laos and Thailand had the highest share of respondents picking China, at 78% and 71% respectively. As the report points out, China is Laos’ largest foreign investor as well as its top export market.

Country🇨🇳 China🌏 ASEAN🇺🇸 U.S.
🇧🇳 Brunei64%18%8%
🇰🇭 Cambodia60%11%20%
🇮🇩 Indonesia54%28%8%
🇱🇦 Laos78%8%8%
🇲🇾 Malaysia67%17%9%
🇲🇲 Myanmar60%7%20%
🇵🇭 Philippines31%26%28%
🇸🇬 Singapore60%15%21%
🇹🇭 Thailand71%9%11%
🇻🇳 Vietnam53%29%11%

Note: Percentages are rounded.

Other ASEAN countries usually score highly as well, along with the United States.

It’s only in the Philippines, where China (31%), the U.S. (28%) and ASEAN (26%) were perceived as having a similar amount of influence.

ASEAN, Japan, and the EU

Filipinos also rated Japan’s economic influence the highest (9%) compared to those surveyed in other ASEAN countries. In 2023, the Southeast Asian bloc celebrated 50 years of friendship with Japan, marking it as one of their most important “dialogue partners.”

Country🇯🇵 Japan🇪🇺 EU🌐 Other
🇧🇳 Brunei3%1%7%
🇰🇭 Cambodia1%5%3%
🇮🇩 Indonesia5%1%3%
🇱🇦 Laos1%4%1%
🇲🇾 Malaysia4%0%2%
🇲🇲 Myanmar6%6%2%
🇵🇭 Philippines9%4%3%
🇸🇬 Singapore3%0%2%
🇹🇭 Thailand3%4%4%
🇻🇳 Vietnam3%3%2%

Note: Percentages are rounded. Other countries include: Australia, South Korea, India, and the UK.

The EU also received single-percentage responses, its highest share coming from Myanmar (6%), Cambodia (5%), and Laos (4%).

Finally, the report contrasted China’s robust economic influence with concerns about its growing impact in the region. Respondents from Vietnam (88%), Myanmar (88%), and Thailand (80%) had the highest levels of concern, despite their countries’ strong trade ties with China.

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