Health and Healthcare Systems

Charted: The countries with the most expensive healthcare

A group of nurses walking

The US lags behind other nations in several aspects such as life expectancy. Image: Unsplash/Luis Melendez

Katharina Buchholz
Data Journalist, Statista
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Health and Healthcare Systems?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how United States is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

United States

This article is part of: Centre for Health and Healthcare
  • US healthcare spending is much higher than anywhere else in the world, as this Statista chart shows.
  • Yet, despite this, it lags behind other nations in several aspects such as life expectancy and health insurance coverage.
  • Of the developed countries selected, per-capita healthcare spending was lowest in Eastern Europe.

How much more expensive is the U.S. healthcare system compared to other developed countries? There are many ways of approaching that question, but when comparing per-capita healthcare spending in different OECD nations, the answer is: a lot more expensive. As our chart illustrates, U.S. per-capita healthcare spending (including public and private as well as compulsory and voluntary spending) is higher than anywhere else in the world, with second-placed Germany trailing quite far behind.

On average, healthcare costs in the U.S. amounted up to $12,318 per person in 2021. In Germany that number stood at $7,383 - 40 percent lower. Yet, the U.S. lags behind other nations in several aspects such as life expectancy and health insurance coverage.

High costs for healthcare are the norm in German-speaking countries, the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries. Costs are a bit lower - around $5,000 per capita, in France, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan. Among developed nations, per-capita health care costs were the lowest in Eastern Europe.

During the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare costs started to rise more steeply in OECD countries. The chart therefore includes only 2021 numbers for better comparability.

A chart showing per capita healthcare spending ($) in selected countries.
Per capita healthcare spending in selected countries. Image: Statista.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about healthcare value and spending?

Have you read?
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Health and Healthcare SystemsFinancial and Monetary Systems
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

The world must invest in oral health, plus other top health stories

Shyam Bishen

May 29, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum