Haiti Aid Update

The international response to the earthquake in Haiti has been remarkable. More than 40 countries around the world have responded with donations. Even relatively poor countries—like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has suffered from instability, poverty, and war over the better part of the last decade—donated $2.5 million to the relief effort.

The international response has been impressive, but two caveats are important. First, as most aid observers know, there is a big difference between pledging assistance and delivering the check. As the Guardian’s Datablog site illustrates, many of the largest donations have yet to be delivered. Australia has pledged about $13 million but has delivered only 45% of its pledge. Other countries have similarly fallen short: Germany has delivered 49% of its pledged aid, the Netherlands 50%, Canada 51%, Denmark 53%, France 55%. The United States has performed relatively well so far, delivering 88% of its pledged aid. Only four countries (Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Switzerland) have delivered 100% of the aid promised.

The second caveat centers on how we measure the generosity of states. Both Guyana and New Zealand have pledged $1 million for the Haitian relief effort. But on both a per capita basis and as a percentage of the economy, Guyana’s donation could be considered more generous (Guyana’s donation is $1.31 per person, 0.088% of its GDP; New Zealand’s is $0.23 per person, or 0.0008 percent of its GDP. 

So which countries have been the most generous? It depends on how you approach the question.

Donations to Haitian Relief by Country (Selected)

Country

Pledged Total

$ per person

Donation as % of GDP

United States

167,769,881

0.53

0.0012

Canada

130,733,775

3.92

0.0087

Spain

45,880,231

1.02

0.0029

France

31,313,132

0.50

0.0011

Sweden

23,219,317

2.51

0.0048

Germany

20,356,105

0.25

0.0006

Brazil

15,535,730

0.08

0.0010

Australia

13,489,211

0.63

0.0013

China

13,005,286

0.01

0.0003

Denmark

11,246,301

2.06

0.0033

Norway

10,398,613

2.16

0.0023

Italy

8,580,536

0.14

0.0004

UAE

3,208,129

0.70

0.0012

Ghana

3,000,000

0.13

0.0186

DR Congo

2,500,000

0.04

0.0001

Indonesia

1,700,000

0.01

0.0003

Belgium

1,151,876

0.11

0.0002

Guyana

1,000,000

1.31

0.0885

New Zealand

1,000,000

0.23

0.0008

Source: InformationIsBeautiful.net

So, to the answer to who is the most generous looks different depending on how you measure it. The top five by category are:

Most Generous (total donations)

  1. United States ($168 million)
  2. Canada ($131 million)
  3. Spain ($45 million)
  4. United Kingdom ($32 million)
  5. France ($31 million)

Most generous on a per capita basis ($ per person)

  1. Canada ($3.89 per person)
  2. Sweden ($2.51 per person)
  3. Norway ($2.16 per person)
  4. Denmark ($2.05 per person)
  5. Finland ($1.48 per person)

And finally, most generous as a porportion of the economy (% GDP)

  1. Guyana (0.088%)
  2. Ghana (0.018%)
  3. Canada (0.0087%)
  4. Sweden (0.0048%)
  5. Estonia (0.0043%)
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