09th September 2010, economix.blogs.nytimes.com, By Catherine Rampell
The United States is the fifth most-generous country on earth, tied with Switzerland, according to a new ranking from Gallup’s World Giving Index.
The index is based on surveys and other research on 153 different countries, which together constitute about 95 percent of the world’s population. The survey asks in part about charitable behavior, including donations, volunteering habits and taking time to help strangers.
Based on this index, Australia and New Zealand are tied as the most generous nations on earth.
The top 21 most generous countries, in order, are:
1. New Zealand
5. United States
8. Sri Lanka
11. Lao People’s Democratic Republic
11. Sierra Leone
18. Hong Kong
Gallup’s analysis of the data found that giving money is more strongly correlated with happiness than with a nation’s gross domestic product.
“It would be reasonable to conclude that giving is more an emotional act than a rational one,” the report says.
Among the other findings, age and gender affected generous behaviors. Globally, giving money to charity increases with age, largely explained by changes in disposable income. Women are generally more likely to give than men, but only just barely – 30 percent versus 29 percent.