delivering foodThe “World Giving Index” is the first report of its kind to tally different types of charitable behavior found in people from 153 countries. For its rankings, The Charities Aid Foundation looked at three different types of generosity — giving money, giving time and helping a stranger.

People from diverse areas of the world reflected high scores in one or more of the categories. Also surprising was the fact that money was not a leading indicator for strong rankings.  With the planet divided into 13 regions, 10 of them were represented in the top 21 nations for overall kindness.

Canada was ranked fourth, with 56 percent of the population performing any of the three charitable acts within one month prior to the survey. The US came in just below, with 55 percent of its people showing charity. Australia and New Zealand topped the Index, with 57 percent of their citizens charted as do-gooders.

Malta was found to be the country with the largest percentage of the population (83%) giving money, the people of Turkmenistan are the most generous with their time, with 61% having given time to charity and Liberia topped the list for helping a stranger (76%), which is the most common way that people showed their generosity.

The study also found that being happy has more of an influence on giving money than simply being wealthy. People from “happy” countries are far more likely to volunteer and give aid than people from “wealthy” countries.

Young people were found to give far less money to causes, perhaps due to less disposable income, but youth — the survey included teens as young as 15 — are far more likely to “help a stranger”, according to the findings.

The following table shows the 21 countries who have achieved the highest overall World Giving Index scores.

This first glimpse unearths an important finding; when ‘generosity’
is assessed in broader terms than money alone, the countries who come to the fore are not necessarily the same ones who are most commonly thought to be the most ‘philanthropic’.  The most common way to be generous is to help a stranger.

Top 21 Countries in the World Giving Index:

  1. Australia 57%
  2. New Zealand 57% 
  3. Ireland 56%
  4. Canada 56%
  5. Switzerland 55%
  6. USA 55%
  7. Netherlands 54%
  8. United Kingdom 53% 
  9. Sri Lanka 53%
  10. Austria 52%
  11. Lao People’s Democratic Republic 50%
  12. Sierra Leone 50%
  13. Malta 48% 
  14. Iceland 47% 
  15. Turkmenistan 47% 
  16. Guyana 45% 
  17. Qatar 45% 
  18. Hong Kong 44% 
  19. Germany 44%
  20. Denmark 44%
  21. Guinea 44%

Download the full report, which was released in September at the Charities Aid Foundation website:


  1. I am Australian and I am very proud that together with New Zealand we are a most generous nation. We contiually witness this in times of hardship and disaster. When earthquakes, Tsunamis, drought, poverty hit we are there for our nation and for others.
    We demonstrate happiness and genorosity in so many ways , there are some issues that seem to be somewhat problematical . One close to my heart or more acurately to my kidney, is organ donation. I am sure though that with education and a truly national approach we can and will come through in true Aussie style.

  2. Thanks for writing Fiona… I hope the organ donations surge in 2011. That would be a nice article for the GNN. I love featuring Aussie stories, as we have many viewers down under. (And, HAPPINESS! You guys wrote the book!)

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