Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the proper citation for data from this website?
- If no data are available for a particular country for a given year or program, does that mean there wasn't any foreign aid given to that country for that year or program?
- Do you have more recent data than I currently see on your website?
- How are the countries organized in the country selection drop-down lists?
- What is the difference between "historical dollar" and "constant dollar"?
- What is the difference between the data on this site (Greenbook data) and assistance data presented on the U.S. Official Development Assistance Database website?
- How do I download data by year?
- Why is there a year listed as "1976TQ"?
- Why are there changes to historical data?
- Does the Greenbook provide information on the types of programs funded?
- Why can't I find "account" data for years before 1999?
- What is the difference between "." and "0.0"?
- What data are included in the "not specified" regions?
- Where can I find data by sector prior to 2001?
- Why do USAID and State Department assistance data differ in the 'Detailed Data' tables versus the 'By Country' and 'By Agency' tables?
The citation should include:
Title: U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants: Obligations and Loan Authorizations, July 1, 1945–September 30, 2011.
Author: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
It is important that you cite the date of the current edition (1945–2011) because the data on the web will change with the next annual update.
The Greenbook is a report on total U.S. foreign assistance, including military assistance, to every country in the world. It reports on fiscal year obligations and is produced annually for Congress.
United States Official Development Assistance (ODA), as reported to the OECD/DAC is a subset of total U.S. foreign assistance. Most notably, it does not include military assistance and is only reported for ODA-eligible countries. ODA is reported on a calendar year basis and tracks both obligations (the commitment/promise of funds) and disbursements (the actual delivery of funds).
Other difference between the figures presented in the Greenbook and those reported to the OECD/DAC do exist. They include the reporting of debt forgiveness and the inclusion of domestic refugee costs, both of which are reported to the OECD/DAC and not included in the Greenbook figures.
Though ODA as reported to the OECD/DAC is a subset of total U.S. foreign assistance, we recommend using ODA when comparing U.S. foreign assistance against other OECD members' assistance.
A table comparing the two datasets can be found at Comparison of Official Development Assistance and Foreign Assistance Reporting.
To customize your data request, specifically to download data by years:
- From the Detailed Foreign Assistance Data page select "historical dollar" or "constant dollar" from the "Country Reports" section.
- Select the country of interest from the drop-down menu.
- Select "custom report" from the radio buttons.
- Choose the program(s) you want.
- Select multiple years by depressing the shift key and scrolling down the year list.
- Select "submit".
Note that the years appearing in the drop-down list will be the years for which there was foreign assistance from the U.S.
Since its inception, responsibility for compiling the U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants report (the Greenbook) has passed among several organizations. Beginning with the 1999 edition, the Greenbook has been produced by DevTech Systems, Inc. for USAID.
A review of data for 1946–1998 by the DevTech Systems, Inc.'s staff revealed the following issues:
- Historical data had not been adequately revised as new information became available.
- New appropriations were not consistently captured as the number of U.S. government agencies undertaking foreign assistance activities increased.
- Historical data were not recorded by appropriations or accounts as needed to be consistent with today's reporting convention.
In addition, the timeliness of reporting varies by agency and program. For example, Food Aid and Military Assistance have traditionally had the greatest lag in reporting and, therefore, are often subject to revision.
As with most time series datasets, historical revisions are necessary to improve the accuracy and consistency of the dataset. Users are alerted to significant revisions in prior year data in the last section of the "Reporting Concepts" section of the Greenbook.
No, the Greenbook does not provide data by the type of program funded (e.g., irrigation, democracy promotion, literacy, HIV/AIDS). The Greenbook tracks foreign assistance by legislated funding accounts and a funding account may be used for many types of programs.
The only authoritative source for U.S. Government assistance by purpose, is the OECD/DAC Development Database on Aid from DAC Members. This database tracks "Official Development Assistance" by donor country, recipient country and sector/purpose of assistance. Please see the FAQ "What is the difference between the data on this site (Greenbook data) and assistance data presented by the OECD/DAC?" for more information.
Prior to FY1999 the Greenbook compilers did not save much of the account data in the database. The procedure was changed in 1999 when the task of producing the Greenbook was transferred to the current contractor. For years after 1998 the user can find all the account data which make up the rows in the Greenbook print publication.
"." indicates no funding for the country under the reported program for the specified year. The "." may mean the program did not obligate any funds to the country or region or no data was reported. A "0.0" indicates funds were obligated, but, amounted to less than $50,000.
Assistance that cannot be assigned to a specific benefitting country is assigned to the not specified region to the lowest level of granularity possible. There is no overlap or duplicate reporting in the not specified region. Assistance that could be identified as benefitting the Caribbean region is assigned to Caribbean (not specified). Assistance that could be identified as benefitting all of Latin America and the Caribbean, not just the Caribbean, is assigned to Latin America and Caribbean (not specified). Total foreign assistance is the sum of each not specified region and the countries.
The "Country and Region Notes" under the "About" section provide information of what is included in the "not specified" region amounts.
Prior to 2001 the Greenbook compilers did not code foreign assistance data by sector.
You can find earlier data by sector at the Official Development Assistance OECD/DAC CRS Database. The online query only reports data back to 1995. Data back to 1973 is available in large ready-made files through the "Related Files" option under "Export" menu. Although data prior to 2001 is available, it should be noted the U.S. did not begin reporting data directly to the OECD Credit Reporting System until 2001.
USAID and State Department both fund voluntary contributions to multilateral organizations. The Greenbook 'Detailed Data' tables report these flows under a separate program (row) called 'E. Voluntary Contributions to Multilateral Organizations'; the Greenbook 'By Country' and 'By Agency' tables attribute these flows to their respective funding and implementing agencies.