U.S. health care expenditure as a percentage of GDP 1960-2020

Recent developments tell us that the United States will spend 18 percent of its gross domestic product on health care in 2020. The United States has the highest health spending based on GDP share among developed countries. While public spending in the U.S. is on line with other developed countries, private health spending is much higher in the United States.

Why the U.S. pays so much more

While private health spending in Canada stays at around three percent and in Germany under two percent of the gross domestic product, it is nearly nine percent in the United States. Another reason for high costs can be found in physicians’ salaries, which are much higher in the U.S. than in other wealthy countries. A general practitioner in the U.S. earns nearly twice as much as the average physician in other high-income countries. Additionally, medicine spending per capita is also significantly higher in the United States. Finally, inflated health care administration costs are another of the predominant factors which make health care spending in the U.S. out of proportion. It is important to state that Americans do not pay more because they have a higher health care utilization, but mainly because of higher prices.

Expected developments

By 2028, it is expected that health care spending in the U.S. will reach nearly one fifth of the nation’s gross domestic product. Or clearly spoken, health care expenditures will accumulate to about 6.2 trillion U.S. dollars in total.

U.S. national health expenditure as percent of GDP from 1960 to 2020

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Release date

April 2020


United States

Survey time period

1960 to 2020

Supplementary notes

* Projected.

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Statistics on "Health expenditures in the U.S."

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