The United States is the most generous nation in the world, according to the World Giving Index 2011, published by the U.K.-based Charities Aid Foundation. The study surveyed three self-reported giving behaviors—giving money, volunteering time, and helping strangers—among some 150,000 people in 153 countries. Many of its findings are quite interesting. If anything, it understates American generosity by obscuring how much Americans give, either absolutely or per capita as a proportion of income. Of the seven most generous nations on earth, all but one (the Netherlands) are Anglophonic. There does not appear to be a strong correlation between prosperity and generosity: Singapore, ranked 3rd in 2010 GDP per capita by the International Monetary Fund, is the 91st most generous nation on earth, while Hong Kong, ranked 7th in GDP per capita, came in as the 11th most generous. Australasia is the world’s most generous region, barely edging out North America, while Eastern Europe is the least generous. One finding is especially encouraging. The proportion of respondents engaged in giving behaviors increased slightly between 2010 and 2011. Despite the global economic turmoil, the world, it appears, is becoming more charitable.
American generosity, however, is not a recent trend but a long established tradition, as Philanthropy Roundtable president, Adam Meyerson, discusses with the Wall Street Journal. (Watch the video from this interview below.)