One of the topics I always delight in discussing with the residents is US foreign aid – specifically, how much they think we give (% of federal budget is the measure I use), and how much they think the American public thinks we give.
Most typically overestimate the amount we provide by a bit, guessing closer to 5% or such. The number is about 1% (defining foreign aid as what’s termed “official development assistance” or ODA, and discounting military aid) – the American public estimates from the always-helpful Kaiser Family Foundation polls are dauntingly incorrect (mean of 28% of our budget, with a huge range in responses if you look at the data behind that average). Reassuringly, when people know the actual amount, the number who are interested in increasing or at least holding steady foreign aid does increase.
(our stated intent is to spend 0.7% of our GDP – which would be around $160 billion dollars, roughly 4% of our present budget, and about 4 times what we presently spend)
I’ve known of a number of sites online that show global health data in a range of beautiful approaches – Global Burden of Disease Compare (from the IHME) and GapMinder are two perennial favorites – but this India Intensive trip I discovered that USAID also has an excellent one, showing the total amount of aid (military + ODA) provided globally as well as by country, and within each country break down the flow of aid by the implementing organization and amount provided.
On personal note, we’ve left Hyderabad and headed further south to Triuchy, and will then go to Chennai. It’s exciting as ever to see new places, and I’m deeply appreciative of Yuvaram and his family, without whom this leg of the journey would not have happened!