The 2014 World Giving Index, published on 18 November by the Charities Aid Foundation, has the United States and Myanmar/Burma sharing the position of most generous nation, followed by Canada and Ireland. While the US had the highest proportion of people helping a stranger in the past month (79 per cent), Myanmar had the highest proportion giving money (91 per cent). The UK came joint seventh with Malaysia.
The index is based on surveys by Gallup in 135 countries over the past year and reveals the proportion of people that reported giving money, volunteering their time and helping strangers within a month of their being surveyed.
According to the index, the proportion of people giving money to charity fell slightly in 2013 – by 0.6 percentage points. This seems to reflect the slight fall in global GDP growth rate reported between 2012 and 2013. Analysis of global giving over the past five years shows that across the three measures giving dropped in 2009, the year after the 2008 financial crisis, recovered in 2010, and then fell sharply in 2011 before rising again in 2012 and 2013. Strikingly, the proportion of people volunteering and helping a stranger has improved in this year’s index but the percentage giving money to charity has not.
Though fluctuations in the economy clearly seem to have an impact on giving on a global scale, the 2014 World Giving Index also shows that any notion that generosity might be directly linked to wealth is deeply flawed. Just five of the countries in the top 20 are members of the G20, the group representing the world’s largest economies. Eleven G20 countries are outside the Top 50 and three of these are outside the Top 100.