Per capita health spendingThe United States spends more on healthcare than any other country with total expenditure exceeding four trillion dollars in 2020 and 2021. This amount equating to nearly 18 percent of total GDP, while similarly developed nations tend to have total healthcare expenditure equating to around 10 to 12 percent of GDP. When looking at per capita healthcare expenditure, it is also clear that the U.S. is outspending similar economies per head as well . In 2021, per capita health expenditure amounted to 12,318 U.S. dollars, significantly higher than other countries in the top five - Germany, Switzerland, Norway, and the Netherlands.
High spending on healthcare does not necessarily lead to better outcomes. The U.S. has one of the lowest life-expectancies compared to similarly developed nations, and experienced a decline in life expectancy for the first time in 2020. In the U.S., high healthcare expenditure is less to do with high rates of utilization, but rather due to the higher costs of receiving health care. Around 60 percent of Americans are insured through private health insurance which has resulted in higher costs for health-related goods and services. Further information on health expenditure in the U.S. can be found here.
Defense spendingAnother category in which the United States spends more than any other countries is defense spending. The U.S. spends more than any other country in the world, and more than the rest of its NATO allies combined. Defense spending in the U.S. has been between three and five percent of GDP in the last decade, and while this is a significantly lower share of GDP than healthcare expenditure, the U.S. came second only to Russia and Saudi Arabia using this metric.
The United States does however, top the list of defense spending per capita among NATO countries, at 2,167 U.S. dollars in 2022. This number is well above that of other member states with Norway in second place spending around 1,242 U.S. dollars per capita. Interestingly, despite Norway’s high per capita spending, they their contribution in 2022 was 1.55 percent of GDP. NATO guidelines state that member countries should spend around two percent of GDP, but many countries fall below this target.