June 19, 2024

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20 Countries that Spend the Most on Welfare

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In this article, we will discuss the 20 countries that spend the most on welfare. If you want to skip our analysis, you can proceed to the section highlighting the 5 Countries that Spend the Most on Welfare.

Welfare programs assist in areas such as healthcare, food, housing, education, transportation, child care, and monetary help for everyday living. The specific services offered by a welfare program can depend on the country’s social security approach and the requirements of its citizens. The United States spends the most on welfare in terms of total expenditure.

U.S. Welfare Expenditures Surge

According to a report by The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States spent $2.47 trillion on social welfare in 2021, an increase of almost 17.5% from the previous year. Healthcare has been one of the largest social welfare expenditures for the United States. As of February 7, 2024, the United States Congressional Budget Office has projected a total budget of $1.42 trillion for the three major healthcare programs in the fiscal year 2024. 

Some of the welfare programs in the United States include Medicaid, Medicare, Supplementary Security Income (SSI), Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Child’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Transient Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Housing Choice Voucher Program (HUD), and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Several corporations, including Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC), Elevance Health, Inc. (NYSE:ELV), and CVS Health Corporation (NYSE:CVS), flourished substantially by participating in welfare initiatives like Medicare, Medicaid, and the CHIP.

Top Companies Providing Healthcare Services

Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC) is one of the largest healthcare companies dedicated to providing healthcare products and services primarily through government welfare programs as well as its other offerings. On February 6, 2024, Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC) reported a revenue of $153.99 billion for the financial year 2023, up 6.5% from 2022. About $109.11 billion of the revenue came through government welfare programs. On January 18, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services extended a 5-year contract to Centene Corporation’s (NYSE:CNC) subsidiary NH Healthy Families to continue providing physical health, behavioral health, and drugstore services to approximately 178,000 Medicaid Managed Care beneficiaries. Here are some comments from Centene Corporation’s (NYSE:CNC) Q4 2023 earnings call:

We are solidifying our Medicare Advantage footprint thanks to an annual enrolment period that largely hit the mark with respect to our target membership, including sales, retention and dis-enrollments, and we are capturing a powerful growth opportunity and marketplace, demonstrated by the increased revenue guidance we issued this morning. We recognize that amid these opportunities, we still have valuable bottom line work to do, and we are approaching that work with the same focus and disciplined execution that has defined the first two years of this management team’s tenure. In fact, Centene wasted no time setting the tone for 2024 by successfully delivering what we believe to be the largest ever PBM platform migration and improving our pharmacy cost structure on behalf of our customers and members.

CVS Health Corporation (NYSE:CVS) offers Medicare Advantage, Medicare supplement plans, and Medicaid health care management services. On January 25, 2024, CVS Health Corporation (NYSE:CVS) reported its collaboration with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to form a new accountable care organization (ACO) named CVS ACO, LLC in central Ohio. CVS Health Corporation (NYSE:CVS) aims to enhance the quality of Medicare to meet each patient’s unique needs and emphasizes preventive wellness and treatment of chronic conditions. The number of new seniors eligible for Medicare coverage is soaring. On January 5, Reuters reported that CVS Health Corporation (NYSE:CVS), is forecasted to add at least 800,000 members to its Medicare Advantage plans in 2024.

Elevance Health, Inc. (NYSE:ELV) is a leading health company dedicated to improving lives and communities by simplifying healthcare. The company’s offerings include insurance products and services, government healthcare programs, pharmacy services, and health services focused on quality care delivery models. On March 11, Elevance Health, Inc. (NYSE:ELV) announced the acquisition of Paragon Healthcare, a company specialising in life-saving and life-giving infusible and injectable therapies. This acquisition will complement Elevance Health, Inc.’s (NYSE:ELV) existing pharmacy services, further strengthening its position in the healthcare industry.

As countries around the world increase their welfare expenditure, the demand for services and products of healthcare companies continues to rise. With that said, here is the list of 20 countries that spend the most on welfare.

20 Countries that Spend the Most on Welfare20 Countries that Spend the Most on Welfare

20 Countries that Spend the Most on Welfare

Copyright: ultimagaina / 123RF Stock Photo

Our Methodology

To make our list of the 20 countries that spend the most on welfare, we utilized the latest data provided by The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in their Social Expenditure Database which covers 38 OECD countries. We then compiled a list of the countries that spend the most on welfare. Here are the 20 countries that spend the most on welfare ranked in ascending order of their social expenditure as a percentage of their GDP, as reported in their latest available years.

Note: We have also included the GDP and GDP per capita for each country for 2023, sourced from the International Monetary Fund.

20 Countries that Spend the Most on Welfare

20. New Zealand

Social Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP in 2021: 20.80%

GDP in 2023: $249.42 Billion

GDP per Capita in 2023: $48,070

New Zealand’s welfare system strives to promote wellness for its citizens through universal healthcare, education access, and social services. The government’s commitment to social spending fosters equality, social inclusion, and individual well-being.

19. Luxembourg

Social Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP in 2022: 21.90%

GDP in 2023: $89.1 Billion

GDP per Capita in 2023: $135,610

Luxembourg has long invested extensively in social programs to protect residents and foster social cohesion. The government offers comprehensive healthcare, education, and social security benefits.

18. Czechia

Social Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP in 2022: 22.00%

GDP in 2023: $335.24 Billion

GDP per Capita in 2023: $32,350

The Czech social system delivers universal healthcare, education, and support to cope with difficult times. Despite a robust economy and low joblessness, one in five Czechs remain at risk of monetary hardship and isolation. Overloaded caseworkers struggle to protect the expanding population of elderly citizens living alone. Generous spending on child allowances and retraining leaves few incentives for some to seek employment. Officials admit more targeted assistance and personal responsibility could improve lives at a lower cost to taxpayers.

17. United Kingdom

Social Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP in 2021: 22.10%

GDP in 2023: $3.33 Trillion

GDP per Capita in 2023: $48,910

While the United Kingdom ensures all residents receive medical care, and aid through taxation, some argue the sprawling bureaucracy has become inefficient and costs have ballooned out of control. In remote highlands villages and crowded cities alike, conditions have deteriorated in hospitals and classrooms due to chronic underfunding and mismanagement from Whitehall. Meanwhile, lavish pensions and unemployment benefits foster a culture of dependency for some.

16. United States

Social Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP in 2021: 22.70%

GDP in 2023: $26.95 Trillion

GDP per Capita in 2023: $80,410

The United States provides an abundance of social welfare initiatives spanning healthcare, education, and other social welfare programs. In terms of total expenditure, the United States spends the most on welfare compared to other nations.

15. Poland

Social Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP in 2022: 22.70%

GDP in 2023: $842.17 Billion

GDP per Capita in 2023: $22,390

Poland’s diverse social welfare programs aim to support all members of society through both prosperous and challenging economic periods. Healthcare, education, and financial assistance are among the services provided to foster the welfare of citizens and promote social cohesion.

14. Slovenia

Social Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP in 2022: 22.80%

GDP in 2023: $68.39 Billion

GDP per Capita in 2023: $32,350

Slovenia’s healthcare system offers universal access to medical services, ensuring citizens receive necessary treatment regardless of economic circumstances. To promote social equity and population well-being, the government funds programs that ease healthcare costs, subsidize education and provide living assistance.

13. Sweden

Social Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP in 2022: 23.70%

GDP in 2023: $597.11 Billion

GDP per Capita in 2023: $55,220

Sweden is known for its focus on citizens’ welfare through a variety of services. Universal healthcare and education are the most focused. Personal freedom is also a key concern in fostering a society where everyone can thrive.

12. Greece

Social Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP in 2022: 24.10%

GDP in 2023: $242.39 Billion

GDP per Capita in 2023: $23,170

In Greece, social programs contribute to national welfare through healthcare provisions, educational opportunities, and retirement security benefits. By investing in initiatives that deliver medical care, knowledge, and financial support, leaders aim to alleviate disadvantages, foster involvement, and safeguard those requiring help. Vulnerable communities receive focused consideration in budget allocations targeting poverty reduction and inclusion progress.

11. Portugal

Social Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP in 2022: 24.60%

GDP in 2023: $276.43 Billion

GDP per Capita in 2023: $26,880

Portugal ensures all citizens have access to necessary social services regardless of financial situation or employment status. The government strives through progressive policies to promote the welfare of all individuals through its national healthcare system, free university education, unemployment benefits, and vocational training for the unemployed.

10. Canada

Social Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP in 2020: 24.90%

GDP in 2023: $2.12 Trillion

GDP per Capita in 2023: $53,250

Canada ensures that all residents can access necessities through comprehensive social programs. The nation prioritizes investing in healthcare, education, and assistance to uplift vulnerable groups. The quality of life for every resident ranks highest among the highest in the world.

9. Japan

Social Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP in 2020: 24.90%

GDP in 2023: $4.23 Trillion

GDP per Capita in 2023: $33,950

Japan’s social welfare system strives to uplift all citizens, although challenges persist. Japan offers universal healthcare, university education, and retirement support to its citizens. Japan has one the highest life expectancy in the world, The government accommodates diverse needs through assistance that protects basic human dignity for every individual.

8. Denmark

Social Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP in 2022: 26.20%

GDP in 2023: $420.8 Billion

GDP per Capita in 2023: $71,400

Denmark spends a substantial portion of its national budget to fully fund healthcare, education, childcare, unemployment benefits, paid parental leave, and support for the elderly. Denmark promotes income redistribution through progressive income taxes and social welfare schemes.

7. Germany

Social Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP in 2022: 26.70%

GDP in 2023: $4.43 Trillion

GDP per Capita in 2023: $52,820

The German social welfare state encompasses extensive social welfare, from healthcare to education to unemployment benefits. Social spending promotes economic stabilization, social cohesion, and the welfare of individuals under the governing administration.

6. Spain

Social Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP in 2022: 28.10%

GDP in 2023: $1.58 Trillion

GDP per Capita in 2023: $33,090

Spain offers universal access to education, healthcare, social security, and unemployment benefits for the welfare of its people. The government continuously evaluates and adjusts its social spending priorities to address emerging needs and challenges.

Click to continue reading 5 Countries that Spend the Most on Welfare.

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Disclosure: None. 20 Countries that Spend the Most on Welfare was originally published on Insider Monkey.

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