Giving increased across the world in 2014 and, despite economic uncertainty, the encouraging news shows people are even more willing to donate money that in previous years.
The world’s most charitable people live in Myanmar, according to the Charities Aid Foundation’s World Giving Index. The Asian country tied the United States the previous year because they gave so much to charity, volunteered their time, and so often helped strangers. Myanmar surged to the top of the latest list, released at the end of 2015, with strong gains, even as American volunteerism was up.
A strong culture of Buddhism pervades the Myanmar society where 92% of people who were surveyed said they donated to charity in 2014. Half of those polled reported doing volunteer work.
When the global goodness is added all together for the 145 countries surveyed, one-third of the world’s population gave money to charity last year — that’s 1.4 billion people, an 11% increase over 2013. Nearly half the people on the planet said they had helped a stranger in need.
Here are the top ten charitable nations on this year’s index, along with the percentage of their people who contributed:
92% Donated money; 60% Volunteered time; 55% Helped a stranger
2. United States of America
76% Helped a stranger; 63% Donated money; 44% Volunteered time
3. New Zealand
73% Donated money; 65% Helped a stranger; 45% Volunteered time
69% Helped a stranger; 67% Donated money; 44% Volunteered time
72% Donated money; 66% Helped a stranger; 40% Volunteered time
6. United Kingdom
75% Donated money; 72% Volunteered time; 63% Helped a stranger
73% Donated money; 59% Helped a stranger; 36% Volunteered time
8. Sri Lanka
60% Helped a stranger; 59% Donated money; 48% Volunteered time
67% Donated money; 59% Helped a stranger; 41% Volunteered time
62% Helped a stranger; 58% Donated money; 37% Volunteered time
Back in 2010, Sri Lanka was the only Asian country to earn a spot in the top ten list.
This year, some of the biggest improvements were recorded in countries that were dealing with adversity. Donations were up in war-torn Ukraine and in the flood-ravaged countries of Eastern Europe.
“The world is becoming a more generous place,” CAF Chief Executive John Low said. “It is humbling to see how countries which have suffered adversity continue to score highly, with increasing numbers of people giving in some instances.”
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CAF assembles the annual index from surveys the Gallup Organization conducts in 145 countries.
Photo (top) by Tom Tranuf, CC