Happy People Gives More to Charity

The “World Giving Index”, the largest study ever carried out into charitable behaviour across the globe, which ranked the UK the eighth most charitable nation in the world, has found that happier people are more likely to give money to charity than those who are wealthy.

The “World Giving Index” used a Gallup survey on the charitable behaviour of people in 153 countries representing 95% of the world’s population. The survey asked people whether they had given money to charity in the last month and to rank how happy they are with life on a scale of one to ten. For all countries CAF compared the strength of the relationship between giving with both a nation’s GDP and the happiness of its population. CAF found that the link between happiness and giving is stronger than the link between wealth and giving.

The study also measured two other types of charitable behaviour alongside giving money – volunteering time and helping a stranger. The “World Giving Index” combines the levels of each charitable behaviour to produce a ranking of the most charitable nations in the world.

The UK came eighth on the World Giving Index and finished joint third, alongside Thailand, in terms of giving money, with 73% of the population having donated to charity. Adults in the UK gave £9.9 billion to charity last year with medical research, hospitals and hospices and children and young people being the top causes for Britons4. The UK’s happiness score was 5.6, slightly above the global average of 5.4.

Richard Harrison, CAF Director of Research, said: “We have always thought of ourselves as a charitable nation and now for the first time we can see how charitable we are compared to the rest of the world.

“Donating money to charity is something that is traditionally seen as being driven by how wealthy a person is. However, it is clear that happiness plays an important role in influencing whether people give.

“The findings suggest a positive cycle where one person gives to charity, the charity improves the happiness of the individuals they support and they in turn are more likely to give.”

Australia and New Zealand topped the “World Giving Index”. Malta was found to be the country with the largest percentage of the population (83%) giving money, the people of Turkmenistan are the most generous with their time with 61% having given time to charity and Liberia was top of the list for helping a stranger (76%).World Giving Index Country % of population who have given money % of population who have given time % of population who have helped a stranger Wellbeing score out of 10
1 Australia 70% 38% 64% 7.3
1 New Zealand 68% 41% 63% 7.4
3 Canada 64% 35% 68% 7.5
3 Ireland 72% 35% 60% 7.0
5 Switzerland 71% 34% 60% 7.5
5 USA 60% 39% 65% 7.2
7 Netherlands 77% 39% 46% 7.6
8 United Kingdom 73% 29% 58% 5.6
8 Sri Lanka 58% 52% 50% 4.2
10 Austria 69% 30% 58% 7.2
11 Lao People’s Democratic Republic 64% 32% 53% 5.0
11 Sierra Leone 29% 45% 75% 3.0
12 Malta 83% 21% 40% 6.3
14 Iceland 67% 26% 47% 6.9
14 Turkmenistan 17% 61% 62% 6.6
16 Guyana 36% 33% 67% 6.0
16 Qatar 64% 18% 53% 6.4
18 Hong Kong 70% 13% 50% 5.1
18 Germany 49% 28% 56% 6.7
18 Denmark 67% 20% 45% 8.0
18 Guinea 28% 42% 61% 4.3

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