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SOCX data - SOCX Manual - Related data
July 2013 update: With the start of the crisis, social spending went up to address the greater need for social support, such as unemployment and social assistance benefits, as GDP growth slowed. Both factors contributed to an increase in public social spending-to-GDP ratios - from around 19% in 2007 to reach a peak of 22.1% of GDP in 2009 on average across the OECD. The latest forecasts suggest spending has remained high since then and will fall only slightly to 21.9% in 2013.
Spending and growth trends in France are similar to most OECD countries, and at an estimated 33% in 2013, it remains the country with the highest public social spending-to-GDP ratio: the welfare state also absorbs more 30% of the economic resources in Belgium, Denmark and Finland.
In the United States too, the increase in social spending generally outpaced GDP-growth in recent years and by 2013 public social spending has been estimated to have increased to 20% of GDP, up from 17% in 2008. Most non-European countries GDP as well as Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland had either above or average real GDP growth or social spending growth, or both.
By contrast, some European countries were much more affected by the crisis and growth in social spending and GDP were both below OECD average in Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Portugal. Since 2009 the decline in public social spending was largest in Greece, falling from 24% of GDP to an estimated 22% in 2013.
See data for all countries/years from aggregated SOCX data (link below).
Public social spending based on detailed data for 1960-2009;
national aggregates for 2010-2012 and estimates for 2013, in percentage of GDP
SOCX 1980-2009-2013 contains 3 datasets
- Aggregated data (public and private social spending data in various units)
- Reference series (GDP, NNI, governement spending, PPPs, population, etc.)
(more reference series i.e. population, employment, unemployment, etc. can be found via OECD Social Indicators)
- Detailed data by social programme
via OECD.Stat for OECD/OLIS users
via OECD iLibrary for other public.
Default views in OECD.Stat are as follows:
- years 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2008 and 2009
(data for intervening years are also available by changing the time period selection);
- all countries are selected for aggregated and reference series datasets.
Default selections can be modified by double-clicking on appropriate variable and selecting appropriate item(s).
- all variables can be moved by drag & drop in headers/columns/lines as in a pivot-table
- meta-data information are available by clicking on “i” next to specific variable/item
- any table can be exported into Excel / Text file by clicking on appropriate top-right icon
- Datasets in French available by clicking on “version française” at top-right of screen
Public and private social expenditure in percentage of GDP in 2009
Download the data (.xls)
The OECD Social Expenditure Database (SOCX) has been developed in order to serve a growing need for indicators of social policy. It includes reliable and internationally comparable statistics on public and (mandatory and voluntary) private social expenditure at programme level. This version also includes estimates of net total social spending for 2009 for 30 OECD countries.
SOCX provides a unique tool for monitoring trends in aggregate social expenditure and analysing changes in its composition. It covers 34 OECD countries for the period 1980-2009 and estimates for 2010-2013. The main social policy areas are as follows: Old age, Survivors, Incapacity-related benefits, Health, Family, Active labour market programmes, Unemployment, Housing, and Other social policy areas.
See Part II. (p.88) OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers No. 124, October 2011: “Is the European welfare state really more expensive? Indicators on social spending, 1980-2012 and a manual to the OECD Social Expenditure database (SOCX)"
Previous versions of SOCX database
- November 2012: Social spending during the crisis: Social expenditure (SOCX) data update 2012 (8 pages, .pdf) >With the recent crisis that started in 2007/08, social spending increased to 22% of GDP on average across the OECD in 2009 and it has not gone down since. Population ageing is also set to drive up pension and health spending in the years ahead. The challenge now is to safeguard social support for future generations. Read the press release. See also background information:
Relationship between social spending effort and poverty, see Gapminder dynamic chart: do countries have the poverty rate they are prepared to pay for?
Ø OECD databases:
Ø Europe: Eurostat Esspros database on social protection
Ø Asia: ADB Social Protection Index: Vol. (2013) - Vol. 1 &2 (2006)
Click here if you wish to be informed when the SOCX database is updated.
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OECD social policy statistics portal