Is the United States the Most Charitable Nation in the World?

December 9, 2013

"The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor." Proverbs 22:9

At least according to one metric, Americans are the most charitable people in the world, reclaiming that title from Australia. The Charities Aid Foundation has commissioned Gallup to study charitable trends around the world since 2008. Each year, between 500-2,000 people in 135 countries are surveyed to determine how charitable their nation is. The USA achieved the top overall rank among all nations in 2012 by ranking first in the percentage of citizens willing to help a stranger in need, coming in third in volunteering while only landing in thirteenth place in the percentage of people donating money to charity. We would like to be the first to congratulate our readers, who we are confident are at the head of the class in the USA when it comes to acting charitably. You are leading the way in making our nation the most charitable in the world, which is exactly what Christians should be doing! Our most recent annual data in our database indicates 433 of the top Christian ministries received nearly $13 billion in generous donations from kind-hearted people like you. Even more has been given to ministries and churches that are not part of the database.

There were many other interesting findings in this study as well, including:

1.) While 2012 showed an increase in charitable giving, giving still remains below the levels seen in 2008.

2.) Young people (ages 15-24) have gone from the least likely to volunteer in 2008 to the most likely in 2012.

3.) Men are more willing to help a stranger in need than women but women give more frequently to charity than men.

4.) Many poor nations are among the leaders in the percentage of their population giving to charity.

5.) Six of the top seven most charitable nations are English speaking countries where Christianity has historically shaped the culture. When looking at data covering the last five years, all six of the top spots were from these same six English speaking countries (USA, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada and the UK).

The Charities Aid Foundation also made several recommendations including the following that endorses:

1.) Make sure not-for-profit organizations are regulated in a fair, consistent and open way

2.) Ensure not-for-profit organizations are transparent and inform the public about their work

3.) Make it easy for people to give and offer incentives for giving where possible

To read the full World Giving Index 2013 report click here