The United States tops the list of most charitable countries in the world, up from fifth place a year ago, a new report from the Charities Aid Foundation America finds.
Based on data from a Gallup survey of more than 150,000 people, the World Giving Index 2011 (68 pages, PDF) ranked 153 countries by the percentage of the population that gave to charity, volunteered time to a nonprofit organization, and helped a stranger in need in the previous month. In the United States, according to the poll, 65 percent of the population gave money, 43 percent volunteered, and 73 percent helped a stranger in 2011.
The U.S. was followed in the rankings by Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, while Thailand, Morocco, Nigeria, and Liberia all ascended into the top twenty. Only three countries in the top twenty — Canada, Sri Lanka, and Malta — saw their scores decline.
"This research confirms that when we look at giving in a rounded way, including the extent to which we volunteer and help strangers, America is the most generous country in the world," said Charities Aid Foundation director of research Richard Harrison. "America is the only country that ranks in the top ten globally on each of these three perspectives, and this first place ranking should be seen as source of real pride for people across America. This research also shows that worldwide, more people are giving than was shown in 2010. This is a very positive and heart-warming insight into how the global community is responding to the economic and social turmoil."