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The world’s most generous country has been named and it might not be your first guess

  • 26
  • 10
  • 2016

Every year the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) releases the World Giving Index, a brilliant insight into the world’s generosity.

It is described as “the world’s leading study of global generosity, exploring how countries donate money, volunteer and help strangers”.

And for the third year running, Burma has scooped the top prize.

How is the index measured?


The index takes into account three measures: have you given money to a good cause; have you helped a stranger; have you volunteered your time.

This is looked at across 140 countries, making up around 96% of the world’s population.

In most of the countries, 1,000 questionnaires were completed by a representative sample of people.

Which countries were found to be the most generous?

(Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP)

Burma – also known as Myanmar – came first on the list, followed by the USA and then Australia.

If you want to learn a bit more about the study’s findings, check out this video:

Why did Burma come out on top?

(Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP)

The study found that 91% of people in Burma donate money, which is extremely high. The CAF think the main reason for this is the fact that 80% to 90% of people living there are practising Buddhists: 90% of these follow Theravada Buddhism, where a major practice is donating to support those living a monastic lifestyle.

So giving money to charity is much more ingrained in day-to-day life in Burma than perhaps in other countries.

The CAF also speculates that the level of good deeds could also be attributed to the fact that morale in Burma is on the rise. November 2015 saw the first elections since 50 years of military rule ended in 2011, so there’s a distinct feeling of hope in the country.

Is there a gender divide?

Gender divide
(Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

The general trends show that in a lot of countries, men were more likely than women to volunteer or help a stranger, but there is little difference between the two genders in donating money.

What can we learn from the study?


The CAF gives a series of universal recommendations from their findings. The one that stuck out the most for us was their urging to “make it easy for people to give and offer incentives for giving where possible”.

The good news is that the CAF found the world is becoming more generous. They say more people are “giving time, money or helping others than previously recorded in the seven years of the CAF World Giving Index”.

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