Some countries around the world are notably generous, and being rich is not a requirement.
World Giving Index
The World Giving Index (WGI) is an annual report published by the Charities Aid Foundation. The report is the world's largest survey of charitable endeavors from around the world. The 10th annual report analyzes data from the past ten years, uncovering trends in people's charitable actions through times of economic crisis, economic recovery, and geopolitical unrest.
The report looks at three aspects of giving behavior:
- Helped a stranger
- Donated money to a charity
- Volunteered time to an organization
The report surveyed over 1.3 million people in 125 countries to collect this data.
Of the three giving behavior aspects, helping a stranger is the most commonly performed worldwide, with more than 2.5 billion people having helped a stranger in the last ten years.
After ten years of surveying the charitable actions of over 100 countries, CAF has concluded that no one trait that indicates a country's generosity. The top charitable countries represent different levels of wealth, cultures, religions, and geographies. For example, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Indonesia are all classified by the United Nations as lower-middle-income countries; however, they are all in the top ten most charitable countries in the world.
The United States has been the number one country on the WGI report for the last ten years, with a score of 58%. Of those surveyed, 72% reported helping a stranger, 61% reported donating to a charity, and 42% reported having volunteered their time to an organization. The U.S., however, has seen a decrease in its numbers over the years.
Myanmar is the second-most charitable country in the world, with an overall score of 58%. Despite being a lower-middle-income country and relatively low, Myanmar has the highest percentage of people donating to charities at 81%. Myanmar has a high population of Theravada Buddhists for whom small, frequent acts of giving are the norm.
3. New Zealand
New Zealand's overall charitable score is 57%. New Zealand is the only country to be in the top ten countries for all three giving measures. New Zealand ranks ninth for donations (65%), ninth for helping strangers (64%), and sixth for time volunteered (41%). Over the past decade, New Zealand's levels of giving have been relatively stable, ranging between 57% and 61%.
Australia is the fourth-most charitable country in the world. With an overall score of 56%, Australia has the eighth-highest rate of donating to charities of 68% and the ninth-highest rate of helping strangers of 64% (tied with New Zealand and Malawi). Like New Zealand, Australia's level of giving has been relatively stable over the past decade, ranging from 55% to 60%.
Ireland is the highest-scoring European country and also has an overall score of 56%. Of those surveyed, 62% reported helping a stranger, 69% reported donating to a charity, and 38% reported having volunteered their time to an organization. Ireland fluctuates more than other top 10 countries, with levels of giving over the past decade ranging from 53% to 60%.
Canada is the sixth-most giving country in the world. Canada's overall score is 55%, with 63% donating to charities, 64% helping strangers, and 37% volunteering at an organization. Canada's levels of giving have fluctuated significantly over the past decade. Since 2014, Canada's level of giving has declined from 60% to 49%.
7. The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has an overall charitable score of 54%. The U.K. has the second-highest donation rate of 71%, a helping strangers rate of 60%, and a volunteer rate of 30%. The U.K.'s donation rate comes as no surprise as the country has a long philanthropic tradition. Over the last decade, the U.K.'s lowest giving level was 50%, and its highest was 57%.
8. The Netherlands
The Netherlands is the eighth-most charitable country in the world, with an overall score of 53%. The Netherlands, like the U.K., has the second-highest donation rate in the world of 71%. Over the past decade, the level of giving has been slightly more stable in the Netherlands than it has in the other high scoring European countries, the U.K. and Ireland. Levels of giving have ranged from 51% to 56%.
9. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's overall level of giving is 51%. Sri Lanka has the highest rate of volunteering in the world of 46%. Of those surveyed, 50% of respondents reported donating to a charity, and 55% reported helping strangers. Despite being classified as a lower-middle-income country, Sri Lanka is still one of the world's top ten most charitable countries.
Indonesia is the tenth-most charitable country in the world with an overall level of giving of 50%. Of those surveyed, 69% reported having donated to charities (the seventh-highest rate globally), 42% reported helping a stranger, and 40% reported volunteering at an organization (seventh-highest in the world). Like Myanmar and Sri Lanka, Indonesia's giving is high despite being classified as a lower-middle-income country.