U.S. Tops List of Most Charitable Countries in the World

The United States is one of the most charitable countries in the world, according to the World Giving Index 2014, which examines charitable behavior across the globe. The index score is based on the percentage of a country’s population that donates to charities, volunteers, and helps strangers.

The report, which is published by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), a UK-based, international charity that promotes giving, is based upon data from Gallup’s World View World Poll.

The United States and Myanmar shared first place in the index, with the U.S. being the only country ranking in the top ten of all three types of charitable behavior. In the U.S., 68% of the population gave to charity, 79% helped a stranger, and 44% volunteered. Myanmar secured its position with a high proportion of people (91%) donating money. The countries both scored 64%, which is the highest score achieved on record. Myanmar and the U.S. were followed by Canada (60%), Ireland (60%) and New Zealand (58%) as the most charitable countries.

Global trends showed that the number of people helping strangers increased substantially, with a growth of over 200 million in 2013. Over 130 million more people are volunteering. However, the number of people giving money has declined, which the report attributed to a drop in the number of younger people (aged 15-29) donating due to high unemployment in that age bracket. The report also found that women are more likely to donate than men, but only in high income countries.

The findings showed that a wealthy economy does not correlate to higher giving, as only five of the countries in this year’s Top 20 are members of the G20, a group representing the world’s largest economies.  The report concluded that an increase in giving is often “dependent on a country taking some positive action to encourage this behavior.”

The report recommends that governments regulate non-profits in a “fair, consistent and open way,” make sure that organizations are transparent, and respect an organization’s right to campaign. In addition, countries should encourage charitable giving, make it easy for people to give, and offer incentives for giving.