Social and welfare issues

OECD: a leader in international measurement and analysis in social policy


The OECD carries out work on social data and indicators to improve international comparisons and economic analyses of social policies. Key statistical areas of work covered by the Social Policy Division include: 

Social Expenditure Indicators (SOCX)



Social Recipients Indicators (SOCR)

Income Distribution and Poverty (IDD)



Social Indicators    

Family Indicators

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Gender Indicators

Benefits and wages Indicators

Country Highlights


 Pensions Indicators

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Public social spending is worth 21% of GDP on average across the OECD

Public social expenditure as a percent of GDP, 1960, 1990 and 2016

This chart refers to Public social expenditure as a percent of GDP

Source: OECD (2016), OECD Social Expenditure database.

New OECD data show that public social spending to GDP ratio in 2016 remains at historically high levels in most OECD countries, at an average of 21% of GDP. Spending on areas such as benefits, pensions and healthcare was highest at just over 30% of GDP in France and Finland and is over 25% in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway and Sweden. At the other end of the scale, Chile, Korea, Latvia, Mexico and Turkey spend less than 15% of GDP.‌

[Click here to know more about our social & welfare data collection programmes]

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