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World Health Organization Funding in one Map: How Much Each Country Contributes

President Trump recently cut funding for the World Health Organization (WHO), claiming that the group didn’t do enough to protect Americans from the coronavirus. This made us wonder which countries make the biggest financial contributions to support the WHO.
the world health organization contribution

  • The U.S. currently pays $116M each year to the World Health Organization (WHO), or about 24% of the entire organization’s budget.
  • China pays the second most of any country in the world at $57M, or 12% of the organization’s total.
  • The vast majority of countries pay significantly less than the U.S. for the WHO. Only 13 countries pay more than $10M, including the U.S. and China.
  • 44 countries pay less than $1M each year to support the WHO.

We took the data for our visual directly from a recent WHO report on annual funding totals for 2020. You can read more about how the WHO gets its money here. Focusing only on the countries with a total contribution of $100K or more, we changed the sizes and colors of countries on a world map corresponding to their contributions to the WHO, creating an intuitive snapshot of where the organization’s money comes from.

Top 10 Countries Funding the World Health Organization

1. U.S.: $116M (24% of total)
2. China: $57M (12% of total)
3. Japan: $41M (8% of total)
4. Germany: $29M (6% of total)
5. U.K.: $22M (4% of total)
6. France: $21M (4% of total)
7. Italy: $16M (3% of total)
8. Brazil: $14M (3% of total)
9. Canada: $13M (2% of total)
10. Russia: $12M (2% of total)

Our visualization makes it clear how the U.S. funds a significant portion of the WHO’s budget, topping $116M. No other country comes close to $100M, with China in second place at $57M. This means that Trump’s cuts to the WHO blow a big hole in the organization’s budget, a gap that China is now partially filling. To be fair, other countries contribute substantial funds, including Western economies like Germany ($29M), the U.K. ($22M) and France ($21M). Other developed countries like Japan ($41M) and South Korea ($11M) contribute millions of dollars as well. Most countries in the world pay in less. 44 contribute less than $1M, and for the sake of simplicity we left off over 100 countries that pay less than even $100K. For example, only a few countries from Africa even made it onto our visualization. Clearly only a handful of countries, led by the U.S., is footing the bill for the WHO.

There are lots of reasons why the U.S. has historically paid more than any other country for the WHO. For starters, the WHO is part of the United Nations, which is headquartered in New York City and grew out of World War II. Like the UN, the WHO’s goal is promote international stability and global health. These are critical building blocks for democracy and a well functioning world economy, and the U.S. remains the biggest and richest country in the world. Since millions of people from around the world travel to the U.S. each year, it’s in everyone’s self-interest to prevent things like pandemics.

There are likewise some good reasons to reconsider American financial support for the WHO. The coronavirus pandemic is crippling the world economy as of this writing, with the real unemployment rate in the U.S. soaring past 20%. Some critics blame the WHO for a cozy relationship with China and its consequent slow response to the pandemic. In any case, Trump’s decision to withdraw funding from the WHO in the middle of a pandemic is now under investigation by the House of Representatives.

Should the U.S. be paying $116M for the WHO? Or is President Trump right to cut contributions to the WHO? Let us know in the comments.

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