Countries With the Most Generous Welfare Programs

Sep 2018
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2. Finland
> Public spending as pct. of GDP: 30.8%
> GDP per capita: $40,739
> Poverty rate: 6.8%
> Avg. income tax rate: 22.7%

Finland provides what many consider to be the best education system in the world. Perhaps as a testament to the country’s generous social programs, not only do Finnish students frequently report world-leading international test scores, but also the education system is famous for emphasizing equality over excellence.

Elderly Finland residents, particularly lower-income elderly residents, are major recipients of public resources. Elderly Finnish people in the bottom 20% of the income distribution receive 34.4% of annual public transfers, the highest such share of all OECD nations. Country residents 65 and older also make up approximately 20% of the population, the fourth largest proportion of countries reviewed.


Countries With the Most Generous Welfare Programs

Public social spending has remained at approximately 21% of GDP on average since 2009 across 34 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Public spending in the United States amounts to 19.3% of the U.S. economy, which is the world’s largest.


24/7 Wall St. reviewed OECD data published in the OECD Social Expenditure Database. According to the October 2016 update, “Social spending stays at historically high levels in many OECD countries.” France leads the world with annual public social expenditure equivalent to 31.5% of its GDP. Mexico trails every other OECD member nation with public social spending at just 7.5% of GDP.


Public spending as a percentage of GDP grew or remained high after the global financial crisis in many European nations. This was not because of any actual major increases in social spending, but because of GDP contractions in these countries.

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Countries With the Most Generous Welfare Programs

I get so confused so if the income tax is socialist and social spending is SOCIAList are these nations socialist, or is this just what civilized people do to off set the harsh aspects of the Capitalist system?