The Two-Way
4:11 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Report: U.S. Takes Top Spot As Most Charitable Nation

Despite the gloomy economic situation, the United States has become the world's most generous nation, according to this year's Charities Aid Foundation's World Giving Index.

Ireland is ranked second followed by Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. Charities Aid Foundation used Gallup's Worldview Poll to look at three behaviors: "giving money, volunteering time and helping a stranger."

The U.S. came out on top after being ranked fifth last year.

"Overall the World Giving Index demonstrates that the world has become a more charitable place over the last 12 months — with a 2 percent increase in the global population 'helping a stranger' and a 1% increase in people volunteering," CAF said in its press release.

The Washington Post has a bit more detail on the survey:

"The survey relied on data from the Gallup polling organization, and asked whether people had donated money (two-thirds of Americans), volunteered their time (43 percent) or helped a stranger in the preceding month (73 percent).

"The survey's authors noted that charitable behavior is not correlated with wealth. Of the 20 countries that the World Bank ranks richest by gross domestic product, only five made it into the top 20 of the index."

The organization has put together an interesting world map that uses its index. In it, for example, you notice that Haiti is ranked 59th, despite it being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

The Post points out that at the bottom of the list were China, Russia and India.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.