Myanmar ranks highest in the world for ‘generosity’, with the US second, New Zealand third, Canada fourth and Australia fifth, according to the World Giving Index released on Tuesday. The next five most generous countries are the UK, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Ireland and Malaysia.
India ranks 106th, just behind Brazil, and last among eight countries included from South Asia in the survey. The proportion of ‘givers’ in India fell substantially in 2014 compared to 2013. However, India has more people who help strangers (334 million in 2014), donate money (183 million) and volunteer their time for a good cause (156 million) than any other country. This is primarily because of India’s large population. The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) World Giving Index, a study based on surveys in 145 countries carried out by Gallup, considers these three criteria while drawing up the list.
“The relatively low proportion of people who are giving their time or money shows there is still a lot more we must do,” said Meenakshi Batra, chief executive of CAF India. This year’s report found that the proportion of people in India donating to charity in 2014 had fallen to 20%, down eight percentage points since 2013. There were also fewer Indians who had volunteered or helped a stranger, with 17% of people having volunteered (a drop of four percentage points) and 37% of people having helped a stranger (down two percentage points)
Batra said wealth in India was predicted to grow significantly in the coming years. “If this is to benefit the entire Indian population through better standards of living rather than simply widening the gap between rich and poor, we must do more to engage people in addressing development gaps,” Batra said. “To do this we will need to build trust in non-government organizations and bring legislation up-to-date to nurture a culture of structured and effective giving. A part of this requires giving more and giving strategically for sustainable long term impact,” she said.
Overall, the report shows that while, at a global level, people have become increasingly likely to donate money to charity or help a stranger, they are less likely to volunteer their time.
The research shows that some of the world’s most generous countries are also among the most deprived. Just five of the World Giving Index top 20 are members of the G20, which represents the world’s largest economies. Fifteen G20 countries are outside the top five, with six of these outside the top 100. Burundi was ranked bottom of the 145 countries in the index with China, Yemen and Lithuania just above them.
For the first time in the six years the World Giving Index has been published, men are now more likely to give money than women. “Women in developed countries are still more likely to donate, although the gap in giving between the genders has narrowed to the smallest recorded by the Index in the last five years,” the report said.