Which country is the most charitable on earth? Well, that depends how you look at it and how you define charitable. There are governments who give a lot, and then there are individual within these countries who may give a lot.
Firstly, let’s look at the official development assistance given by different governments around the world. This is a measurement of money given by official government organisations that goes towards economic development and welfare. It is the United States who gives most of any country, with approximately $29 billion donated a year. This is more than double the next countries on the list, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, all of which give $12 billion. Generally, and unsurprisingly, it is the wealthiest countries who give the most, although Japan is the only one of Asia’s wealthiest countries near the top of the list. The wealthiest countries can afford to give more, so does that make them more generous?
Another way that generosity can be calculated is by looking at the percentage of GDP that each country gives. This is lead by Northern Europe. Sweden gives the most as a percentage of GDP, at 1.12% following by Norway (1.06%), Luxembourg (1.01%), Denmark (0.88%), and the Netherlands (0.82%). In fact, all of the top nine are in Northern Europe, with all the Scandinavian countries, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The top non-European country in this list is Canada, which is only placed fourteenth, and donates less than one-third of a percent of their GPP (0.30%). Although the United States gives the most in the monetary amount, they only give 0.20% of their GDP and are 19th on the list.
So, these are the countries that give most, but whose citizens are most generous when it comes to giving to charity? It is again mostly Northern European Countries at the top of the list of the average amount given to charity per citizen. Those from Luxembourg are the most generous, the only country whose citizens give on average more than $100 a year ($114). Norwegian’s give $96, with Swedes and the Irish given $66. Kuwaiti’s give on average $33. Those from the United Kingdom only give $17 a year each and American’s only $14, while German’s give $9.
It is those from Malta, though, who have the highest percentage who give to charity. 83% of Maltese say the give to charity according to the Guardian. Following Malta on this list are the Netherlands (77%), the United Kingdom (73%), Thailand (73%), Ireland (72%) and Morocco (72%). 60% of American’s donate to charity. Looking at some of the countries who come towards the top of the list when it comes to the average amount each citizen donates, 58% of those from Luxembourg give to charity, 52% of Swedes and 43% of Norwegians. So although these three countries give a lot on average, a relatively low percentage of citizens donate to charity, while in countries such as the United Kingdom and Thailand, they may not give as much on average but a higher percentage donate at some point.
In reality, it is very difficult to judge which countries are more generous. There are so many different methods of looking at it, and it is difficult to say which one more accurately reflects which countries are more generous when it comes to donating to charity.