3 December 2013
The UK is top of the developed world for giving money to
charity, with 76% of Britons giving to good causes in a typical
This increase in financial giving makes the UK the sixth most
charitable nation in the world, up from 8th, in the World Giving
Index, the biggest annual global survey of giving published
The survey also found that Britons are becoming more generous
with their time. Volunteering levels rose by three percentage
points from the previous year to 29%.
The UK also became a friendlier place, with a huge increase in
the amount of people who helped a stranger in a typical month, up
by nine percentage points to 65%.
The index is based on surveys in 135 countries by Gallup over
the past year and looks at three measures of giving: the percentage
of people who give money to charity, volunteer their time or help a
stranger in a typical month.
While the UK tops Europe in terms of giving money to charity,
Ireland is the most generous nation in Europe overall, with a
higher proportion of the Irish volunteering (37%) pushing the UK
into second place in Europe.
The index found that the United States was the most generous
country on earth, followed in joint second place by Canada, Burma
and New Zealand, with Ireland in fifth place.
The next five most generous countries were the UK, Australia,
Netherlands, Qatar and Sri Lanka respectively. Greece was bottom of
the World Giving Index with Croatia just above them.
Overall, the world became a more generous place last year.
Despite a slowdown in the global economy, the average percentage of
people donating money, volunteering time and helping a stranger all
The rise in giving was largely driven by an extra 200 million
people helping a stranger in 2012. This was more than double the
growth in the number of people giving money or volunteering.
Globally, women are more likely to give money to charity, while
men are more likely to volunteer and help a stranger. There was a
big increase this year in men helping strangers, meaning that
proportionally more men are helping strangers than ever before.
Emerging economies are surging ahead in giving: in India 244m
people give money to charity in a typical month, up from 163m last
year. In China 373m people help a stranger in a typical month.
John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said:
“It’s excellent news that the UK is sixth in the world for
generosity and second for giving money to charity. With the
difficult economic climate and rising living costs, it is humbling
to see that the majority of Britons choose to give money to good
causes every month.
“We should be proud of the excellent culture of giving we have
in the UK, but must not get complacent. There is still so much the
government, businesses and charities can do to encourage greater
giving and volunteering.
“Global levels of generosity are growing, with developing
economies showing a huge surge in giving and volunteering. These
rapidly developing countries have the potential to have a massive
positive impact both in their local communities and internationally
through their giving.
“It’s important that governments and charities in these
countries work together to harness the giving potential of these
growing middle classes to create an even greater charitable culture
in these booming economies.”
On the three key indicators of giving money, giving time and
helping a stranger, the report found that in 2012:
- Burma was the country with the largest proportion of people
donating money to a charity (85%). This highlights the fact that
giving is about more than just wealth. In fact, out of the top ten
countries for donating money to charity, eight are not in the G20.
The UK was second (76%), Malta third (72%) and Ireland and Thailand
joint fourth (70%).
- More people donated money to charity in India than anywhere in
the world, with over 244 million people having donated. Pakistan
also entered the top ten for the amount of people donating money to
charity, following a third successive year of disastrous flooding,
affecting over five million people.
- Since 2011 the biggest increase in participation in
volunteering has been among 15-24 year olds (from 18.4% in 2011 to
20.6% in 2012). Over the last five years this age group has gone
from least likely to volunteer to second most likely to
- Turkmenistan topped the list of countries with the highest
proportion of people giving time (57%), followed by Sri Lanka
(46%), United States (45%), Burma (43%) and the Philippines
- Due to India’s vast and growing population, coupled with a
sharp increase in the proportion of its people volunteering (from
10% to 18%), India has surpassed the United States, with as many as
157 million people volunteering in a typical month.
Helping a stranger
- Americans were more likely to help strangers than any other
nationality in 2012 (77%), and the country also boasts the third
highest number of people who do so.
- Qatar had the second highest proportion of people helping a
stranger (73%), followed by the State of Libya (72%), Colombia
(70%) and Senegal (68%).
- China tops the list for the highest number of people helping
strangers due to its large population. Over 373 million people help
a stranger in China in a typical month.
Table 1: Top 20 countries in the World Giving Index,
with scores and participation in giving
|Country ||World Giving Index Ranking ||World Giving Index Score (%) ||Donating Money (%) ||Volunteering time (%) ||Helping a stranger (%) |
|United States of America ||1 ||61 ||62 ||45 ||77 |
|Canada ||2 ||58 ||68 ||42 ||64 |
|Myanmar ||3 ||58 ||85 ||43 ||46 |
|New Zealand ||4 ||58 ||67 ||40 ||67 |
|Ireland ||5 ||57 ||70 ||37 ||64 |
|United Kingdom ||6 ||57 ||76 ||29 ||65 |
|Australia ||7 ||55 ||67 ||34 ||64 |
|Netherlands ||8 ||54 ||69 ||37 ||57 |
|Qatar ||9 ||51 ||60 ||19 ||73 |
|Sri Lanka ||10 ||48 ||45 ||46 ||54 |
|Norway ||11 ||48 ||56 ||35 ||53 |
|Malta ||12 ||47 ||72 ||24 ||46 |
|Switzerland ||13 ||47 ||56 ||32 ||54 |
|State of Libya ||14 ||46 ||29 ||37 ||72 |
|Austria ||15 ||45 ||52 ||28 ||56 |
|Philippines ||16 ||45 ||31 ||43 ||60 |
|Hong Kong ||17 ||44 ||63 ||15 ||55 |
|Iceland ||18 ||44 ||63 ||25 ||45 |
|Indonesia ||19 ||44 ||63 ||30 ||40 |
|Nigeria ||20 ||44 ||30 ||36 ||66 |
Only includes countries surveyed in 2012.
Data relates to participation in giving behaviours during
one month prior to interview.
World Giving Index scores are shown to the nearest whole
number but the rankings are determined using two decimal
For more information please contact a member of our media team.