With all the cynicism these days and distressing news domestically and internationally, it is a pleasant surprise to the jaded many among us that the United States has regained the distinction of being the most generous nation in the world...but in the recent report from the Charitable Aid Foundation World Giving Index, there are some definite surprises.

Charitable giving is not a given among any country, regardless of it's relative wealth or comfort. 160 nations were examined in relation to the willingness of citizenry to volunteer, help strangers, and donate money to causes. The number one country in the world in these three criteria is, once again (after falling behind Australia in the recent past) the US, followed by Canada, Myanmar(?!), and New Zealand.  Among the top ten are a couple more that might not immediately come to mind: Qatar and Sri Lanka.

Interesting to note, that in the Top Ten giving nations, the least popular category is volunteering. Bummer. Among all the nations, the highest rating for volunteer activities among the populace, is...drumroll, please...Turkmenistan.

Also interesting and also a bummer, global rates of all three criteria have fallen since 2007. We just don't give money, time, or assistance like we used to.

Lots of good news here, too...The biggest jumps are, encouragingly, among the world's youth, and generosity is on the rise in super-sized population nations India and China!

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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF.org) and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project (mentorartists.org). Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at www.ChangeByDoing.com. As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

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