Myanmar Edges Out America, Becomes World’s Most Generous Country

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According to the Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index 2015, one of the world’s poorest nations has topped the United States as world’s most charitable country. The world’s most charitable people live in Myanmar — the Asian country that tied the United States last year because they gave so much to charity, volunteered their time, and so often helped strangers.

You would think – why Myanmar, one of the world’s poorest countries and not America, one of the world’s most affluent nations? According to Paul Fuller, lecturer in Buddhist Studies at the University of Cardiff, the answer lies in the strong influence of the particular form of Buddhism, called Theravada, practiced in the country.

“Throughout the country, the notion of ‘generating merit’ is very pervasive. The belief is that whatever you do here, in this life, will have consequences for your next life. Thus, the more merit you acquire now, the more you increase your chances of your next life being a good one… In Myanmar, special emphasis is placed on acts of giving. And the most common manifestation is making daily offerings of alms or food to monks — so much so that they have become an essential religious practice,” Fuller told NPR in an email.

CAF

Globally, the report found that 1.4 billion people gave money to charity in 2014, a participation rate of 31.5%, up from 28.3% in 2013. A whopping 2.3 billion people worldwide reported helping a stranger. However, even as they’re giving more money, the report found that people are less likely to donate their time. The study found that 1 billion or 21% of people volunteered in 2014, a slight decline from 2013.

Despite their highly developed economies, only 5 G20 countries are in this year’s Top 20, reminding us that economic prosperity does not automatically lead to a rise in generosity. This year, some of the biggest improvements were recorded in countries that were dealing with adversity. Donations were up in war-torn Ukraine and in the flood-ravaged countries of Eastern Europe.

“The world is becoming a more generous place. It is heartening to see that, even during these times of economic uncertainty across the world, people are increasingly likely to donate money to causes to help others,” CAF Chief Executive John Low said in a statement.

When the global goodness is added all together for the 145 countries surveyed, one-third of the world’s population gave money to charity last year. Nearly half the people on the planet said they had helped a stranger in need. For the first time in six years of the World Giving Index, it was found that men are more likely to donate money than women.

Here are the top 10 charitable nations on this year’s index:

Myanmar: 92% Donated money; 60% Volunteered time; 55% Helped a stranger

Myanmar

United States of America: 76% Helped a stranger; 63% Donated money; 44% Volunteered time

United States of America

New Zealand: 73% Donated money; 65% Helped a stranger; 45% Volunteered time

New Zealand

Canada: 69% Helped a stranger; 67% Donated money; 44% Volunteered time

Canada

Australia: 72% Donated money; 66% Helped a stranger; 40% Volunteered time

Australia

United Kingdom: 75% Donated money; 72% Volunteered time; 63% Helped a stranger

United Kingdom

Netherlands: 73% Donated money; 59% Helped a stranger; 36% Volunteered time

Netherlands

Sri Lanka: 60% Helped a stranger; 59% Donated money; 48% Volunteered time

Sri Lanka

Ireland: 67% Donated money; 59% Helped a stranger; 41% Volunteered time

Ireland

Malaysia: 62% Helped a stranger; 58% Donated money; 37% Volunteered time

Malaysia


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5 COMMENTS

  1. Myanmar… the most generous nation on earth. Whenever there’s a natural disaster, there are huge fleets of Myanmar ships that will show up full of food, aid workers, and supplies. Hundreds of billions of Myanmar’s dollars are showered into 3rd world economies every year. Thousands of Myanmar’s doctors travel the world to treat the sick. Myanmar sends millions of tons of food every year to those countries where peaople are starving. And the way they pick up the tab for all the UN activities is truly amazing. When tyrants and dictators rear their ugly heads, little Myanmar will send their sons and daughters to spill their blood for you. Oh wait… none of this is Myanmar.

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