The Most Generous Countries in the World

By Jake Schroeder
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Every year, the analytics firm Gallup polls 146 countries to determine which are the most generous with both their time and money. The firm interviews 1000 adults in each country asking if they have donated money to a cause, helped a stranger or volunteered their time. A connection between a strong economy and civic engagement has been established, but it is not as strong as some may think. Here are the world's most generous countries.

Hong Kong

With a free-market economy focused on finance and international trade, Hong Kong has a per capita GDP of $61,500 and a median household income of $35,443. Hong Kong's population is approximately 7.2 million people.

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Hong Kong has a relatively low unemployment rate to go along with its high GDP. The country has diversified its economy by investing resources into research, developing technologies and education. The Gallup poll found the people surveyed from Hong Kong to be quite generous.

Iran

Iran's economic focus continues to be on oil and natural gas exports, but other sectors, such as agriculture and industry, also play a role in supporting Iran's population of 83 million people. Iran's GDP per capita is $20,100, and its median household income us $13,178.

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Government monopolies on oil and gas contribute to widespread corruption that limits economic and private-sector growth. Nonetheless, the people of Iran are famously generous with their time and money.

Libya

The country of Libya has endured much hardship recently after the overthrow of the dictator Muammar Gaddafi . The country's population of 6.7 million people has a GDP per capita of $9,600. The country's economy depends highly on its oil and gas exports.

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Despite declining living conditions and power shortages, Libyans are generous people. The country ranks as the most generous African nation in the poll. More Libyans than people from any other country also responded in the poll saying they have helped a stranger, with 83 percent saying they had.

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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's economy suffers the effects of high debt payments owed to the International Monetary Fund. The country has a population of 21.4 million and a per capita GDP of $12, 900. The median household income in Sri Lanka is $1,385.

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The country's deficit is one of the highest in the world. Sri Lankans are some of the most generous people in the world as it concerns their time, however. 45 percent of Sri Lankans polled said they had volunteered their time to an organization.

Switzerland

Switzerland boasts a population of 8.42 million people, and many of them are skilled laborers. The country has a low unemployment rate and large service, industrial and financial sectors. The country has a GDP per capita of $80,189.70 and a median household income of $34,608.

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Other factors that aide the Swiss economy include low corporate tax rates and solid infrastructure. With a strong and stable economy, the Swiss are able to contribute both their time and money when needed.

Mauritius

The small island nation of Mauritius has an estimated 1.2 million people. The GDP per capita of the island ist $10,490.50, while the median household income in Mauritius is $9,922.

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While this tiny country located in the Indian Ocean doesn't have a large population, its citizens are very charitable with their time. When surveyed in the poll, 38 percent of Mauritians said they had volunteered part of their time to an organization working on a cause they support in the last month.

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Denmark

Denmark has a population of 5.8 million people. The GDP per capita of Denmark is a respectable $56,307.41, while the median household income in the country is $44,360. Denmark's economy is growing in part as a result of government efforts to train unemployed individuals.

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The poll from Gallop shows that those in countries with stronger economies tend to be more charitable, and Denmark is no exception. The Danes may have Scandinavian aloofness, but they don’t shy away from helping neighbors and charitable organizations.

Trinidad and Tobago

As a result of its petroleum and natural gas exports, Trinidad and Tobago is one of the wealthier countries in the Carribean. The country has a population of 1.2 million and a GDP per capita of $16,126.37. The gross national income per capita is $15,340.

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This Caribbean nation doesn't only rely on its petroleum and natural gas, however. Tourism in Trinidad and Tobago is also expanding and helping the country to attain one of the highest per capita incomes in all of Latin America. That in turn translates to more money for charitable giving.

Germany

Germany boasts the largest economy in all of Europe. The country has a population estimated at 82.8 million people and a GDP per capita of $44,469.91. The median household income for the country is $33,333.

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Germany's economic growth is bolstered by its investments and exports. Its GDP is expected to continue growing in the coming years as well. When polled by Gallop, Germans were shown to be charitable and generous people.

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Zambia

Zambia had one of the fastest-growing economies in the world up until 2014. Copper prices fell at that time, reducing growth. The African country has a population estimated to be 16 million people and a GDP per capita of $1,513.28. The median household income is $1,501.

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Zambia has faced challenges in education and health care in recent years, but many African countries are seeing higher income levels amongst their people as economic development continues. That in turn often leads to more charitable citizens.

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone was devastated by a civil war that ended in 2002. The population of the African country is very poor, with slightly under half of the country's working population in agriculture. Sierra Leone's population is estimated at 6.3 million. The per capita GDP of the country is just $499.53, while the median household income is $2,330.

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While the small African country does not have a strong economy or high income, the Gallup poll discovered 80 percent of the population had helped a stranger in the last month. Sometimes the people with the least to give are actually the most generous.

Liberia

Liberia is a country that relies heavily on foreign aid. The population of the country is estimated at 4.8 million. The per capita GDP of Liberia is just $694.32, while the median household income of the country is a paltry $781.

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Despite widespread poverty, the Gallup poll found Liberians to be quite generous. 80 percent of those polled said they would help a stranger, making Liberians the fourth most willing to do so in the world. 47 percent of Liberians said they had volunteered with an organization as well.

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Malta

With 449,043 people, this small country doesn't have a large population, but the people who live there are quite generous. The per capita GDP of Malta is $26,903.82, while the median household income is a moderate $21,141.

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Malta's economy is the smallest in the Eurozone. However, the people of Malta have proven themselves to be quite giving, with 64 percent saying they've donated to charity recently.

Iceland

The people of Iceland proved to be some of the most charitable in the Gallup poll, with 65 percent saying they had given to charity in the last month. This island nation of 343,518 people has a remarkable per capita GDP of Iceland of $70,056.87 and a median household income of $47,000.

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Iceland has an unusually even distribution of wealth aided in part by a large welfare system. It also scores well when it comes to personal happiness and gender equality and was second only to Norway in the Economy Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index.

Nigeria

Nigeria is an oil-rich and oil-dependent nation. The country's economy tends to follow the same trends as global oil prices, which sent Nigeria into a recession in 2016. Nigeria's economy has been back on the upswing since oil prices have recovered, however.

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The country's population is estimated at 203 million. The per capita GDP of Nigeria is $1,968.56, while the median household income of the country is $2,667. Economic development continues to raise income levels in Africa, with wealthier countries like Nigeria participating more in civil engagement.

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Canada

Canada's economic system is very similar to its southern neighbor’s. The country has a population estimated at 35 million. The per capita GDP of Canada is $45,032.12. The median household income in Canada is $41,280.

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Much of Canada's economy involves supplying energy to the United States. In addition to oil exports, however, Canada also has a large and highly-skilled labor force. That leaves Canadians with money to spare when it comes time to donate to charity.

Haiti

The country of Haiti may not be very wealthy, but they scored high in the Gallup poll on civic engagement. The country has a population estimated at $10 million. The per capita GDP of Haiti is just $765.68, while the median household income is $2,735.

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Haiti is further proof that it’s not just richer countries that are willing to donate their time and money. Despite low income-levels, the people of Haiti were found to be quite generous by Gallup.

Norway

Norway has a particularly educated population of 5 million and a stable economy. The per capita GDP of Norway is $75,504.57, the eleventh highest in the world. The median household income of the country is $51,489.

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Norway is the world's second-largest exporter of seafood, only coming in behind China. Perhaps as a result of its strong economy, the people of Norway are quite generous, with over 65 percent stating they donated to charity recently.

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United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates enjoys a high standard of living and a strong economy. The country has an estimated population of 9.7 million people and a per capita GDP of $40,698.85. The median household income in the country is $39,130.

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The country ranks 13th globally in terms of per capita GDP. As a result of diverse economic resources that are attractive to foreign investors, the UAE boasts a strong annual trade surplus as well. The UAE's strong economy may contribute to the generous attitudes of its people.

Netherlands

The Netherlands is the sixth-largest economy in the European Union despite its small size and boasts a low unemployment rate and annual trade surplus. The population of the country is estimated at 17 million people. The per capita GDP of the Netherlands is $48,223.16, while the median household income is $38,584.

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With a strong economy, high income levels and low unemployment, the Netherlands was found to be quite generous by Gallup: 66 percent of those surveyed in the country said they'd donated to charity in the last month.

Bahrain

Bahrain's economy is focused on natural gas and oil exports. The country boasts an estimated population of 1.4 million people. Per capita GDP is $23,655.04, while the median household income is $24,633.

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Bahrain scored highly on the Gallup poll due to its citizens responding favorably to questions regarding strangers in need. 74 percent of those surveyed Bahrain stated they had helped a stranger in need recently, making Bahrainians some of the most generous people with their time and effort.

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Myanmar

The country formerly known as Burma earned the top spot in this poll previously due to the charitability of its people. Despite Myanmar's 53.4 million citizens only having a GDP per capita of $1,256.66, many Myanmarans are astonishingly generous people.

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88 percent of those surveyed said they had given to charity in the last month. Since 2013, Myanmar has consistently hovered around the 90-percent range in this category. Other countries could stand to follow their example.

Kenya

Despite being a lower to middle-income country, Kenya is one of the highest-ranking countries on the Gallup civic engagement poll. Kenya's population is estimated to be 48 million. The GDP per capita of the country is $1,594.83, while the median household income is $1,870.

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72 percent of Kenyans surveyed said they had helped a stranger in need recently. 45 percent also said they had volunteered their time with an organization they support. Kenyans are undeniably generous.

Singapore

With a strong economy and a high per capita GDP of 57,714.30, Singapore scored highly on the Gallup poll, showing its citizens are among the most generous in the world. The tiny country boasts a population of 5.9 million and a median household income of $32,360.

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Out of all Singaporeans surveyed by Gallup, 39 percent answered that they had volunteered their time with an organization working on a cause they support recently. It’s not the highest number, but it’s nothing to shake a stick at, either.

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United Kingdom

As a particularly wealthy western country, the 61 million citizens of the United Kingdom are often in a better position to give to charities and causes. The country’s per capita GDP is $39,720.44, while the median household income is $31,617.

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The United Kingdom boasts the third-largest economy in all of Europe, trailing only Germany and France. When surveyed in the Gallup poll, 68 percent of Brits said they had donated to charity recently.

Ireland

Ireland's economy suffered from debt challenges in the 2000s, but it has been steadily recovering ever since. As a result, the small country is able to maintain a high per capita GDP, allowing its citizens to be more charitable. The estimated population of Ireland is 5 million. The per capita GDP of the country is $69,330.69, while the median household income is $52,000.

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64 percent of those surveyed in the Gallup poll from Ireland stated they had donated to charity recently, and 40 percent had volunteered their time.

USA

The United States of America donates a lot of money to charitable causes. According to Gallup, the country’s 329 million citizens donated $410 billion in total in 2017, which is over 2 percent of the country's total GDP. The per capita GDP of the country is $59,531.66, while the median household income in the country is $43,585.

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Out of all Americans surveyed in the Gallup poll, 39 percent had volunteered with an organization recently. 72 percent of Americans stated they had helped a stranger in need, making Americans some of the most generous people on the planet.

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New Zealand

New Zealand has seen income levels rise in recent years, leading to its 4.5 million people growing more charitable and cracking the top 3 on this list. The GDP per capita of New Zealand is $49.940.58, while the median household income is $35,562.

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New Zealanders are generous with both their time and money. 40 percent of those surveyed said they had volunteered their time recently, while 68 percent said they had donated money.

Australia

Australia’s 23 million people consistently rank amongst the most generous in the world in terms of civic engagement. The GDP per capita for Australia is $53,799.94. The median household income is $46,555.

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With a strong financial system and a low unemployment rate in recent years, Australians are in a good position to give. 40 percent of those surveyed in Australia said they had volunteered their time recently, while 71 percent said they had donated to charity.

Indonesia

Indonesia is not a particularly wealthy country, but its 262 million citizens are quite generous. The country topped the Gallup poll and can boast the most generous people in the world. The GDP per capita is $3,846.86, while the median household income is $2,199.

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53 percent of those surveyed said they had volunteered in the last month, the highest percentage in the world. Additionally, 78 percent of those surveyed reported having donated money to charity.

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