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Where Social Spending is Highest and Lowest



This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Katharina Buchholz


While social spending as a share of GDP has generally declined in OECD countries over the past ten years, France remains the country which is most generous in terms of its social benefits. In 2019, the equivalent of almost a third of French GDP was spent on social services by the government. Finland boasts the next highest spending rate at 29 percent. Most Scandinavian countries appear high up on the ranking. Denmark, Sweden and Norway all spent more than 25 percent. Spain, Italy, Germany and Belgium also make spending on social benefits a priority.


Anglo countries rank a bit lower, at around the OECD average of 20 percent. OECD countries spending surprisingly little on social causes are the Netherland (16.1 percent), Ireland (13.4 percent) and South Korea (12.2 percent). Korea’s low rate is beat by Costa Rica and Colombia. In the OECD, only Turkey, Chile and Mexico had lower spending rates.


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