Australia and New Zealand are the most generous charitable
givers in the world according to a new report from the Charities Aid Foundation: The World Giving Index 2010. The report demonstrates that charitable behaviour differs immensely across the globe. An act that is considered charitable in one country may be seen as a regular, everyday, activity in another.  However, the research also found that the correlation between happiness and giving is stronger than the correlation between wealth and giving. This means that an individual is more likely to give to charity if they live in a ‘happy’ country, than if they live in a ‘wealthy’ country. Read below and see how your country compares…

Charitable behaviour differs immensely across the globe. For example, helping family members is viewed as charitable behaviour in a number of regions whereas in others charitable behaviour is more commonly thought of as support given to a formally regulated charity.  In some countries charities fund and run services that in others are provided by government. The new report, just published, from the Charities Aid Foundation has created the World Giving Index and highlights the differences in attitudes and practices across cultures – in 153 countries representing 95% of the world’s population.

In ten of the thirteen global regions, the most common way to ‘give’ is to help a stranger. This is true in Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa, Western Asia/Middle East, Eastern, Central and Southern Asia as well as North and Central America and South America and the Caribbean. The giving of money is the most common way to ‘give’ in Australasia, Western and Southern Europe and South Eastern Asia.

Giving time or money voluntarily to help others is seen by sociologists as a marker of cohesiveness in a society. Almost all countries, cultures and faiths have their own traditions of giving which are complex and shaped by their history, customs and religion. The level of giving in a country indicates something about the strength of civil society – the extent to which individuals are willing and able to contribute towards addressing the needs of others both in their own localities and across borders.

The CAF World Giving Index is based upon the three charitable behaviours – giving money to an organisation, volunteering time to an organisation and helping a stranger:  measured by the proportion of the public in each of the 153 countries who had, in the previous month, given money to charity, given time to those in need and helped a stranger.

Australasia is the region with the highest incidence of giving money, highest for volunteering time, and the second highest for helping a stranger. Overall giving money outstripped helping behaviour by an average of 5%. Australia and New Zealand jointly topped the World Giving Index with a score of 57% and both countries appear in the top twenty for all three behaviours.

North America
North America shows the highest level of helping behaviour in the world with an average of 67% having helped a stranger. The region ranked second highest for the percentage of people giving money and third for volunteering time.
Central America

Central America comes fifth out of the thirteen regions for volunteering time and seventh for both giving money and helping a stranger.

South America and the Caribbean
South America and the Caribbean has one of the highest levels of helping behaviour in the developing world ranking it fifth out of the thirteen regions. Guyana comes fifth for helping a stranger worldwide. Three countries in this region stand out for having populations who are particularly likely to give money; Haiti (40%), Trinidad and Tobago (45%) and Chile (48%).

Western and Southern Europe
Western and Southern Europe has the third highest average level of giving money in the world, making it one of only three regions where, on average, over half the population gave money in the last month. The region also shows the greatest variation of all regions between countries in percentage of population giving money – from 8% (Greece) to 83% (Malta). At 24% the average level of volunteering in Western and Southern Europe is much lower than in Australasia, Central Asia or North America, although it still ranks as the fourth highest region globally.

Central and Eastern Europe
Most countries in Central and Eastern Europe fall into the lower half of the World Giving Index. In five of the twenty six countries in the region less than 10% of the population had given money to charity in the previous month, contributing to the region ranking eleventh out of thirteen globally in terms of the giving of money. Nonetheless in most countries in the region, more than one third of the population engaged in one of the three forms of ‘giving’. Armenia is noteworthy in that whilst only 6% of the population had given money to those in need in the previous month (one of the lowest scores), the country can claim the highest likelihood to help a stranger in the region, at 51%.

Northern Africa
Northern Africa ranks third out of the thirteen regions for helping a stranger but fares less well in terms of volunteering time with two of the five countries in the region (Egypt and Morocco) coming in the bottom ten countries in the world on this measure. In a country breakdown, Morocco appears in the top five countries in the world for giving money and Sudan is third in the world in terms of likelihood to help a stranger.

Sub-Saharan Africa
Similar to the Central and South America and the Caribbean regions, the people living in Sub-Saharan African are around twice as likely on average to offer help to a stranger than to give money to an organisation. In fact, at 49%, Sub-Saharan Africa has the fifth highest helping propensity of all regions. The region contains the top two countries in the world for helping a stranger – Liberia and Sierra Leone.

South Eastern Asia
South Eastern Asia scores highest of the Asian regions for giving money and is fourth in the world overall. The region ranked sixth globally for volunteering time and tenth for helping a stranger. Only Lao People’s Democratic Republic appears in the top twenty countries in the World Giving Index, however, Thailand comes joint third in the list of countries giving money to charity. The region contains the country with the lowest level of volunteering in the world – Cambodia, where only 2% of the population have volunteered time.

Western Asia/Middle East
This region contains a number of the world’s most oil-rich economies, however, giving money is less prevalent on average than helping a stranger – by around 20% of the population. This region also has one of the lowest average proportions for volunteering time at 13% of the population. Qatar comes twelfth in the world for giving money with nearly two-thirds (64%) of the population having given to charity. Interestingly, Iraq displayed some of the lowest levels of giving money and volunteering time in the world, however the country came in the top twenty for helping a stranger.

Eastern Asia
Regionally, Eastern Asia ranks sixth out of thirteen for giving money, tenth for volunteering time and eleventh for helping a stranger. Hong Kong has the highest level of giving money in the region – nearly double that of the closest country, Taiwan. It is also the only country where at least half the public have helped a stranger in the past month. China came in the bottom three of the World Giving Index with a score of just 14%.

Central Asia
The Central Asian region collectively exhibits the lowest average percentage of giving money in the world (15%). However the region shows the second highest level of volunteering time in the world (38%) and Turkmenistan has the highest level of volunteering of all countries surveyed, 61% of the population having done so. The region also has relatively high levels of helping behaviour (43%) underlining that charitable behaviour is about more than money.

Southern Asia
On average, a third (33%) of the population of Southern Asia helped a stranger in the last month – the lowest regional level found. The region came higher up in terms of giving money (tenth) and volunteering time (ninth). There are some positives for the region, Sri Lanka ranks second in the world for volunteering time with just over half of the population, 52%, having done so and appears at number eight on the World Giving Index.

Source: The Charities Aid Foundation. The World Giving Index 2010 with in put from Gallup’s WorldView data.

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This entry was posted on Friday, September 10th, 2010 at 2:45 pm and is filed under Africa, Australasia, Central America, cross-cultural differences, East Asia, Europe, General, other interesting stuff, Russia/Asia, South America, South Asia, The Middle East/Arab World . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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