The world’s most (and least) generous people



By Jane Wells

Love thy neighbor as thyself, says the Golden Rule.

How much do you love your neighbor?

The Charities Aid Foundation has ranked the most and least charitable countries in the world, focusing on three areas: willingness to help a stranger, donating to a charitable organization and volunteering time.

The results in some cases are surprising.

Overall, Indonesia is more charitable than Germany, Mexico is more charitable than Russia, and Libya is more charitable than France (some of that Libyan charity may be due to the needs created by a devastating civil war).

Here are the most charitable countries on Earth:

#3 – Ireland

The luck of the Irish is a gift the Emerald Isle likes to share. According to Charities Aid Foundation, Ireland got an overall score of 57 percent. Two out of 3 surveyed said they had lent a helping hand in the previous month, while 70 percent had donated to an organization and 37 percent had volunteered time.

#2 – Canada, New Zealand … and Myanmar

A three-way tie here between two industrialized nations and one long-ostracized country with a lousy human rights record coming out from the shadows. All three countries received an overall score of 58 percent, but in specific categories, Myanmar actually ranked first in donating to a charitable organization—85 percent said they had done so within the previous month.

#1 – USA

America reclaimed the crown from last year’s winner, Australia, which fell to 7th place. The U.S. score was 61 percent. Here’s the breakdown by category: 77 percent of Americans surveyed said they’d lent a helping hand (the most of any country), 62 percent had donated to an organization (13th place) and 45 percent had volunteered time (3rd place).

Interesting note: The country with the highest ranking for “volunteering time” was Turkmenistan, where 57 percent of residents said they did so. This was the only country where more than half of those surveyed said “yes” to volunteering.

Which countries are least generous?

#2 – China and Croatia

These two countries are tied for second to last place, with an overall score of only 16 percent. China is a little better than Croatia at lending a helping hand, but a little worse at volunteering time. Still, in a country with 1.35 billion people, 16 percent is over 200 million Chinese doing something nice. That’s a lot.

#1 – Greece

It’s been a tough six years in Greece, as the country has suffered through recession. Apparently, there isn’t much to be charitable about. According to the Charities Aid Foundation, Greece got an overall score of 13 percent—and only 4 percent said they’d volunteered time in the previous month. I guess you don’t have to “beware of Greeks bearing gifts.” But Greeks aren’t completely heartless. In the category of Helping a Stranger, there were countries with lower scores: Slovakia, India, Macedonia, Rwanda, Albania, Madagascar, Cambodia … and one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Singapore.

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