According to the World Giving Index 2014 (44 pages, PDF), an annual global survey conducted by the UK-based Charities Aid Foundation, the United States continues to be the most generous country in the world.
Based on 2013 Gallup survey data from a hundred and thirty-five countries and three measures of generosity — the percentage of a country's population that volunteers, gives money to charity, or helped a stranger in need over the previous thirty days — the report found that the United States topped the list for a second consecutive year. But while the U.S. shared the overall top ranking with Myanmar, it was the only country that placed in the top ten in all three categories, with 68 percent of Americans saying they give to charity, up 6 percentage points from 2012; 44 percent saying they volunteer, down a single percentage point from 2012; and 79 percent saying they helped a stranger in need over the previous thirty days, up 2 percentage points.
Myanmar, which shared second place in last year's index with Canada and New Zealand, moved up to first with the highest share of people giving to charity (91 percent). Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand ranked third, fourth, and fifth, respectively. The U.S. also ranked first in the index's five-year ranking, followed by Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. The report found that, globally, an additional 226 million people said they helped a stranger in 2013, while an additional 132 million people said they volunteered. The percentage of people who said they gave to charity fell slightly (0.6 percent), however, apparently mirroring the slide in global GDP. The report also suggests that Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the nearby Philippines in 2013, appeared to have a significant effect on giving in Malaysia, which rose from seventy-first to seventh in the index, with participation across all three categories rising significantly.
Even as the economy rebounds, the continuing generosity of Americans may reflect the fact that they are acutely aware of the recession’s lingering effects, Ted Hart, chief executive of CAF’s U.S. office, told the Chronicle of Philanthropy. "The scars from the Great Recession are still here," said Hart. "A lot of people are still hurting, and Americans want to help."