The world's most generous countries

  • Giving love
Published 9 months ago

Devoting yourself to others voluntarily – be it your time or money – can have a significantly positive impact on a community as much as on you, whether you're abroad or in your home country. But what is the global giving trend? takes a look into the world's most generous countries according to the CAF World Giving Index 2017.

The global trend

actes bénévoles
Clive Chilvers /

The report provides an overview of the global generosity trend over five years, taking into account three main behaviours: helping a stranger, donating money to a charity, and volunteering in 139 countries.

Overall, it seems that people living in developed countries (40%) are more likely to donate money, while those living in developing countries (52%) are more likely to help a stranger. Volunteering, on the other hand, plays an almost similar role in developed and developing countries. In transition economies, however, volunteering is less significant.

Generosity has taken a great leap backward as evidenced by many economic powerhouses such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, and Canada. These have been performing poorly even though they remain in the global top 20 of the most generous countries.

Africa is the only continent to have shown positive trends in all three types of behaviours assessed while Asia shows a slight decline.

Help a stranger

aider un inconnu

Over the past five years, people from Sierra Leone have been keener about helping a stranger which brings Iraq to the 2nd place. As per the report, the number of people willing to help a stranger has known a significant increase even though Sierra Leone remains one of the world's least developed countries. You will perhaps recall that the country has been severely affected by the Ebola crisis in 2014, followed by a drop in iron ore prices, which resulted in an economic slowdown. Unlike Iraq, no significant change has been shown by Libya, Kenya and Kuwait due to the size of their populations.

Americans have also been quite generous over the past few years, just like Ugandans, South Africans, and Saudis. Germany particularly stands out for its impressive figures compared to the rest of Europe – 40.8 million people helped a stranger in 2016 against 38.5 million people in 2015. Bangladesh also has a generous population even though the number of people who helped a stranger went from 64 million in 2015 to 38 million in 2016.

Donate money to a charity


Myanmar tops the list of the most generous countries when it comes to donating money to a charity as per the year 2015 figures. Indeed, the number of people donating money has increased to 34 million people. It's worth noting that participation rate remains unchanged for many reasons, none of which is linked to wealth. In fact, more than 80% of the population follows Theravada Buddhism that preaches donating to people who have a monastic lifestyle. This religious practice, known as the Sangha Dana, involves small but frequent acts according to the local norms.

Indonesia comes up 2nd regarding donating money to charity while Australia falls from the 3rd to the 9th place due to a 10% drop in the participation rate. Iceland, Norway, and Canada have also been showing a downward trend for the past five years, while Thailand is back into the top 10 with a 5% increase in participation.

One in three Japanese has donated money to charity in 2016 compared to one in five in 2015. Brazil thus gets ejected from the top 10 most generous countries when it comes to donating money.



This year, Indonesia tops the list of countries with the greatest number of volunteers – rising from 50% in 2015 to 55% in 2016. Kenya also stands out with a 9% rise in the number of local volunteers. While Liberia, Tajikistan, and Sierra Leone are in the top 10 thanks to highly positive voluntary trends, Mauritius and Australia are two newcomers that have shown significant progress over the past few years.

New Zealand and the USA seem to have the greatest number of volunteers despite a 3% and 5% decrease in the number of hours spent volunteering. In the meantime, other countries such as the Philippines, Honduras, and Ireland show a downward trend while Armenia, Bulgaria, and Latvia have the smallest numbers of volunteers.

Moreover, the number of volunteers in the USA has known a decrease of around 14 million people while India experiences a 6% increase which makes 56 million more volunteers in 2016.

What about you? Do you devote some of your time, or do you give money to the less privileged? Giving definitely has the power to transform your vision of the world and to make it a better place. Wouldn't you like to be part of this change? It starts with you.