U.S. Regains Top Giving Spot

December 3, 2013       Zach Halper      

Americans can once again proudly shout “we’re number one.” Not only did the United States regain the top spot in the World Giving Index, it did so by posting the highest score in the survey’s history.

Published by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) in Kent, U.K., the World Giving Index is the largest annual global survey of giving, and is being published this year to coincide with #GivingTuesday, the online day of giving now in its second year. In this year’s edition of the survey, the U.S. sits above Canada, Myanmar (Burma), New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Australia — which had secured the first spot in last year’s Index.

Greece rounded out the 135-country list, with Croatia above it.

The U.S. had an overall World Index Giving Score — which is calculated by averaging from the three questions in the survey — of 61 percent, the highest on record for the survey. The three methods of giving the Index looks at are the percentage of people who give money to charity, volunteer their time, or help a stranger in a typical month.

This year’s Index found record numbers of Americans giving their time and helping others, with 77 percent of Americans saying they had helped a stranger — more than any other country in the world — and 45 percent saying they gave time. Overall, nearly two out of three Americans (62 percent) said they gave money — up five percentage points from 2012.

The 2013 World Giving Index also found that generosity is rising across the world, not just in America. The average for all three categories of giving increased, despite the rate of the global economy dropping from 4 to 3 percent.

This boost in giving was largely driven by an extra 200 million people helping a stranger in 2012, more than double the growth in the number of people giving money or volunteering.

Despite the positive news from the Index, particularly for the U.S., Hart urged vigilance when it comes to continuing to promote giving across the globe. “It’s important our country’s leaders do all they can to encourage a culture of giving in the U.S.,” said Hart. “Continuing to provide incentives such as charitable tax deductions encourages more people to donate to good causes.”

Other key findings from the 2013 World Giving Index include:

  • Myanmar was the country with the largest proportion of people donating money to a charity (85 percent). The next four countries with a similarly high percentage were the U.K. (76 percent), Malta (72 percent), and Ireland and Thailand (both 70 percent).
  • Nearly two out of three Americans (62 percent) said they gave money, up from 57 percent in the 2012 survey.
  • The index found the increase in giving money was driven by increasing donations by American women — up to 66 percent from 55 percent — and increased donations by 25-34 year olds — up to 57 percent from 40 percent.
  • Due to India’s vast and growing population, coupled with a sharp increase in the proportion of its people volunteering (from 10 percent to 18 percent), India has surpassed the United States, with as many as 157 million people volunteering in a typical month.

You can see read the 2013 World Giving Index by visiting https://www.cafonline.org/pdf/WorldGivingIndex2013_1374AWEB.pdf