Back to overview

United States


Key Figures 2013 HAVE BEEN UPDATED. The rest of the tabs will be updated by end-2014.

Total Assistance:

US$30.9 billion

Humanitarian Assistance:

US$4.7 billion

Contributions to UN

US$1.4 billion, 2012


US$6,297 billion

Fast Facts

  1. The US was the leading donor of official humanitarian assistance in 2013
  2. The US’s official development assistance (ODA) was equal to 0.2% of The US’s gross national income (GNI) in 2013
  3. GNI rank in 2013: 1 of 181
  4. 75.1% of the US’s official humanitarian assistance was spent in fragile states in 2011
  5. 37.8% of the US’s official humanitarian assistance was spent in countries classified as long term recipients of humanitarian assistance in 2011

The United States has been the world’s largest humanitarian assistance donor every year since 1990. In 2010 expenditure peaked at US$4.9 billion but between 2011 and 2012, contributions from the United States showed the largest decrease (US$483 million) amongst government donors and EU institutions. However, while it is the largest donor in terms of volume, it is not the most generous and its humanitarian assistance as a proportion of gross national income (GNI) is relatively low at 0.02%, ranking it 15th according to preliminary data in 2012.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), created by executive order in 1961, is the principal agency dealing with the country’s assistance programme. It is an independent federal government agency that receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State. In December 2010, USAID and the State Department issued the first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) to assess the capabilities and mandate of USAID. The document set out a joined-up diplomacy and development agenda that will harness the resources of the country’s civilian agencies to “prevent and resolve conflicts; help countries lift themselves out of poverty into prosperous, stable, and democratic states; and build global coalitions to address global problems”.

The US Policy Framework 2011–2015 is the first of its kind (and will be set every four years) and outlines USAID’s 7 core development objectives:

  1. Increase food security
  2. Promote global health and health systems
  3. Reduce climate change impacts and promote low-emissions growth
  4. Promote sustainable, broad-based economic growth
  5. Expand and sustain the ranks of stable, prosperous and democratic states
  6. Provide humanitarian assistance
  7. Support disaster mitigation and prevent and respond to crises, conflict and instability.

The United States is a member of, and adheres to the principles and practice of the Good Humanitarian Donorship Group and leads the Safety and Security work stream within the group.

Key references

QDDR Executive Summary

QDDR Factsheet

OECD DAC Peer Review, 2011 (next Peer Review due 2016)




You can access various indicators and indices, together with information on engagement and data publication for each country from this Google Doc.