Americans spend just 6.4% of their household income on food. That’s according to the latest figures compiled by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Generally speaking, the more developed a country is, the smaller the percentage of household income it spends on food, as this map shows.

Image: World Economic Forum

Countries that spend the least

There are only eight countries in the world that spend less than 10% of their household income on food. Four of these are in Europe: the UK is third at 8.2%, followed by Switzerland at 8.7%; Ireland spends 9.6% and Austria 9.9%.

The remaining four countries are spread across the globe. The US spends the least at 6.4%, Singapore spends the second lowest amount at 6.7%. Canada spends 9.1% on food, while Australia spends 9.8%.

Countries that spend the most

Nigeria spends over half of household income on food, and there are nine other countries that spend over 40% on food.

Four of them are in Africa: Nigeria 56.4%; Kenya 46.7%; Cameroon 45.6%; and Algeria 42.5%. Four are in Asia: Kazakhstan 43.0%; Philippines 41.9%; Pakistan 40.9%; and Azerbaijan 40.1%. Guatemala is the only South American country to appear in the list and spends 40.6% of its household income on food.

Image: World Economic Forum

The figures do not mean that food is more expensive in Nigeria than in the US. In fact, quite the reverse. The average American spends $2,392 per year on food, the average Nigerian half that: $1,132. The average Kenyan spends just $543 a year on food.

However, there can be wide disparities within a country.

Over the past 25 years, the poorest 20% of households in the US spent between 28.8% and 42.6% on food, compared with 6.5% to 9.2% spent by the wealthiest 20% of households.