Fact check: Does the US “do more than any other country” to help the poor?

Compassionate enough.
Compassionate enough.
Image: Reuters/Win McNamee/Pool
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“The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world,” said Donald Trump in tonight’s State of the Union address, by way of introducing his plan to curb legal immigration.

In absolute numbers, it is true that the US donates a lot of money. According to the latest available OECD data (2015), the US gives more than any other country to international aid budgets.

But a better measure of America’s generosity would be percentage of GDP given in aid, and the contribution per capita. By both these measures, the US is not a particularly compassionate nation, nor does it do “more than any other country.”

With about $95 per citizen, Americans are the 18th most generous donors—donating just over a ninth of Norwegians, whose per capita contribution to international development is over $812.

The US stands out even less when it comes to percentage of the country wealth donated to international aid:

When it comes to percentage of GDP dedicated to international aid, the US is 21st in the world, while Norway and Sweden—the kind of country Trump claims to admire—lead the group.