Your $14 a year helps save 4,000,000 children a year

This post has nothing to do with psychology, but I wanted to share some encouraging figures about how humanitarian aid has helped to decrease child mortality over the last 20 years. Humanitarian aid includes food, but also such aid as infant vaccinations for measles and cholera, and food fortification like vitamin A supplementation. 

In developing countries…

In 1990, some 12.4 million children under the age of 5 died every year.

By  2009, this was reduced by one-third, to about 8.4 million children.

In other words, each year  four million children under the age of five a year live instead of die – largely because of humanitarian aid.


The United States is the largest  humanitarian donor in the world.

“Aid” of course includes military aid. Total foregin US aid – including military aid –  is about 45 billion per year.

Total  “aid”  per US Citizen is $90 per year.  

Humanitarian aid per US Citizen is $14 per year.

This amounts to 4.5 billion a year

What is 4.5 billion to the US budget?

To put it into persepctive, the US Military budget is about 1.9 billion per day. The cost of the Lockheed F-35 program? 385 billion.  The Obama administration’s  Feed the Future program has modestly increased specific aid for the most vulnerable. 


Private American initiatives are extraordinarily important. For example, in some areas of Africa the scourge of river blindness is almost gone, thanks to vast contributions of medicine by Merk, and the amazing post-presidential work of Jimmy Carter.

What is a billion in the private sector?

To put this into perspective, the personal stock holdings of Warren Buffet increased in value by  6.5 billion last year, and the stock holdings of Jeffery Bezos (Amazon) and Larry Ellison (Oracle) each increased by 3.5 billion last year.

Of course, Buffet plans to leave almost his entire estate to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, most of which is devoted to humantiarian aid abroad. The Foundation has assets of 37 billion.

The Clinton Global Initiative also draws massive funding from the private sector.


An African Adventure, by Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times, Sunday Review, July 23, 2011

We Knew They Got Raises, but This?  by Pradnya Joshi, New York Times, Sunday Business, July 23, 2011

Global Humanitarian Aid

Military Budget of the United States

Scroll to Top