How much do countries spend on health? Where does that money come from? And how is it spent?
We’re diving into all these questions to unpack the state of health financing. Spoiler alert: It varies dramatically across countries and income groups.
Over the past 20 years, total health spending has grown across all income levels, from US$4.2 trillion in 2000 to US$9.0 trillion in 2020. 80.9% of that spending has been in high-income countries. Low- and lower-middle income countries, home to 52% of the global population and 56% of the global burden of disease, account for only 3.4% of global health expenditure.
In 2020, low-income countries spent US$20.8 billion on health, a 4.3% increase from 2019. Lower-middle income countries spentUS$285.1 billion on health, a1.3% increase from 2019. Health’s share of GDP increased across all income levels between 2019 and 2020, likely caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. More data is needed to know if this upward trend will continue beyond 2020.
This chart shows total health spending in different countries and income levels based on World Bank income classifications. Total health spending refers to health expenditure from all financing sources, including domestic government, external aid, domestic private, and out-of-pocket health spending.
The chart allows you to view data on total health spending (from all sources) in USD billions (in constant 2020 prices), per capita, and as a share of GDP.
Some estimates suggest that countries should spend at least 5% of their GDP and US$86 per capita on health to ensure all citizens have access to primary healthcare services. 0 low- and 6lower-middle income countries in Africa met both targets in 2020.
Other regional targets for health spending exist, like the African Union’s Abuja Declaration Target to allocate 15% of government spending to health.
This chart shows domestic government spending on health as a share of GDP, based on World Bank income classifications.
Hover over each country point to see more details. Press the play button at the top of the graph to see changes over time.