Which Countries Receive the Most Foreign Aid From the U.S.?
In 2021, over 150 countries and territories, regional funds, and NGOs received aid from the United States, totaling more than $50 billion.
Congress allocates foreign aid yearly, focusing on national security, commercial, and humanitarian priorities.
USAID data is utilized by USAFacts in this map to showcase the countries that were given the highest amount of aid.
Food Assistance and the War on Drugs
Throughout 2021, the US focused its aid efforts on countries that were struggling with internal conflicts and humanitarian crises.
After American troops withdrew in the same year, Afghanistan became the primary beneficiary of significant aid. The country received billions of dollars annually as part of the humanitarian response.
|Country||Assistance (USD)||Top Activity|
|🇦🇫 Afghanistan||$1.5 billion||Humanitarian Assistance|
|🇪🇹 Ethiopia||$1.4 billion||Emergency 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 million||Emergency Food Assistance|
|🇸🇾 Syria||$844 million||Humanitarian Assistance|
|🇳🇬 Nigeria||$828 million||Global Health Supply Chain|
|🇨🇴 Colombia||$761 million||Counter-Narcotics|
|🇸🇩 Sudan||$620 million||Emergency Food Assistance|
Several African countries grappling with famine and internal conflicts are among the top beneficiaries of U.S. assistance. Additionally, Colombia has secured a spot in the top 10 recipients, receiving millions of dollars to combat drug trafficking.
Israel Leading in Aid Over Time
Over the years since World War II, the United States has allocated more than $3.75 trillion in foreign aid, taking inflation into account.
During the post-war era, foreign aid reached its highest point, largely due to the implementation of the Marshall Plan. The main objective of this initiative was to provide assistance in rebuilding the economic infrastructure of Europe following the devastating effects of the war.
In 1949, the peak year for U.S. foreign aid, the total amount reached almost $100 billion.
Israel has been the beneficiary of the largest amount of U.S. foreign aid, receiving more than $300 billion since the 1940s. The majority of this aid has been in the form of military support, which has helped Israel develop a missile defense system and other crucial projects.
The United States has primarily provided foreign aid to ensure its interests in the region are met, as Israel is situated near Syria to the northeast, Lebanon with Hezbollah influence to the north, and an Islamist insurgency in Egypt’s Sinai region to the south.
Vietnam, despite the two-decade conflict that claimed millions of Vietnamese lives and approximately 58,000 American lives, has become the second-largest beneficiary of financial aid from the United States. This financial assistance is utilized for a range of purposes such as economic and technological cooperation, military support, and even to support the cleanup of Agent Orange, a harmful chemical used by the US military in Vietnam during the war.
The United States has been providing Egypt with significant foreign aid since 1975, mainly to help ease tensions in the Arab-Israeli context as part of diplomatic efforts.
During the Cold War, South Vietnam, South Korea, and other countries received substantial aid packages from Washington.
Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have been the primary recipients of much of the funds since 2003.
The Debate Surrounding U.S. Foreign Aid
The Congressional Research Service’s recent report suggests that foreign aid has the potential to strengthen the United States’ global presence, address global issues, and promote shared values.
Despite this, the report indicates that some Americans and members of Congress view foreign aid as an expense that the country cannot afford, especially with current budget deficits and other budget priorities.
The federal government’s total expenses in 2021 included approximately 0.7% towards providing aid to other nations.