Foreign Affairs

US involvement in international affairs takes many forms including foreign aid, military deployment, and economic trade.

Data Updated January 31, 2023
Table of Contents

What are the basics on foreign affairs?

Data can illustrate priorities in US foreign policy. This includes data on foreign aid purposes and recipients, military deployment locations, and international trade. This page showcases some of these measures to answer some fundamental questions and directs you to data to develop an understanding of the state of foreign affairs today.

What is the role of the government in foreign affairs?

Spending on foreign affairs and foreign aid

In fiscal year 2020, governments spent a combined total of $76.5 billion on foreign affairs.

That comes out to $231 per person.

USAFacts categorizes government budget data to allocate spending appropriately and to arrive at the estimate presented here. All spending occurs at the federal level. Foreign affairs spending includes aid and assistance for development, humanitarian, or security purposes; exchange of information; international financial programs; and conduct of foreign affairs.

Government revenue and expenditures are based on data from the Office of Management and Budget, the Census Bureau, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Each is published annually, although due to collection times, state and local government data are not as current as federal data. Thus, when combining federal, state, and local revenues and expenditures, the most recent year for a combined number may be delayed.

Federal agencies and elected officials

Key actors

Foreign affairs and aid

Department of State

Manage diplomatic relations including embassies, ambassadors, and passports

Trade policy

Congress, Office of US Trade Representative, Department of State, Department of Commerce

Negotiate trade agreements


Foreign affairs and aid

Trade policy

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