Britain – the most charitable developed nation in the world

More than three quarters of Britons give to good causes in a typical month
  • @emilydugan

Britain is the most generous developed nation in the world when it comes to giving to charity, according to a report out today.

More than three quarters of Britons give to good causes in a typical month, the highest proportion of any developed country surveyed. According to The World Giving Index, the only country with a higher proportion of its population donating money than the UK is Burma, where 85 per cent of people give something every month.

Britons are also becoming more generous with their time, as volunteering levels have risen by three percentage points from the previous year to 29 per cent, according to the survey. There was a huge increase in the number of people who helped a stranger in a typical month, up by nine percentage points to 65 per cent.

John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: "With the difficult economic climate and rising living costs, it is humbling to see that the majority of Britons choose to give money to good causes every month."

When marked for all three measures of giving - including donating funds, volunteering time and helping a stranger - the UK was ranked the sixth most charitable nation in the world, up from eighth last year. America came top of the Index, which is based on polling by Gallup in 135 countries and published by the Charities Aid Foundation. The next most generous countries were Canada and Burma, who came joint second, followed by New Zealand, with Ireland in fifth place.

Greece came bottom of the Index, with Croatia just above them.

Overall, the world became a more generous place last year. Despite a slowdown in the global economy, the average percentage of people donating money, volunteering time and helping a stranger all increased.

The rise in giving was largely driven by an extra 200 million people helping a stranger in 2012. This was more than double the growth in the number of people giving money or volunteering.

Women are more likely to give money to charity, according to the global survey, while men are more likely to volunteer and help a stranger.