The Telegraph has a cool interactive graphic that shows how much social welfare spending has increased since 2000 in each of the nations that make up the OECD — the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The U.S. came in third with a 38.2% increase, behind Ireland (61.1%) and Portugal (39.6%). The average for the entire OECD was 16%:
In 2013, the United States’ spending for social welfare programs is equivalent to 20% of the nation’s GDP.
Writing from the U.K. perspective, the Telegraph puts the change increases in social welfare spending in context:
In the developed world, only the United States and the stricken eurozone states of Ireland, Portugal and Spain — which are blighted by high unemployment — have increased spending quicker than Britain.
Meanwhile, more fiscally solvent nations like Germany (-1.6%) and Israel (-8.1%) have succeeded in lowering their relative level of social welfare spending, mainly by limiting the rate of growth of their social welfare spending to be less than their rate of economic growth.