I am working my way through the Bread for the World Institute’s 2009 hunger report (which is well worth your time!). I came across this little statistic that is both frightening and hopeful.
According to a 2008 poll, 47% of likely voters in the U.S. think that we give too little to reduce the global hunger problem. That means that over half of likely voters think that we either give enough or too much. Over half!
The frightening part is this: the U.S. allocates a paltry .16% of the federal budget to development assistance. The commitment we made to the Millenium Development Goals was .7%. We consistently rank near the bottom of the industrialized nations in money devoted to development assistance. In fact, we spend less than half of the average of those nations. In short, we’re not pulling our weight.
Now to the hopeful part: in 2003, nearly 3/4 of likely voters (73%) thought that we gave either enough or too much in foreign development assistance. That’s a 20 point swing in only four years.
Let’s continue to get the word out. Let’s see if we can move 20 more points closer to reality.