The United States tied for fifth place in a new survey "World Giving Index 2010" prepared by Charities Aid Foundation on giving habits in 153 countries.
Australia and New Zealand tied for first place, followed by Canada and Ireland.
A country's overall ranking is based on the average score of three categories, donating money to an organization, volunteered time to an organization, and helping a stranger in the previous month. The results were based on data collected by Gallup's WorldView World Poll in March 2010.
Malta ranked first in giving money (83 percent), Turkmenistan in volunteering time (61 percent), and Liberia in helping strangers (76 percent).
"No one should take a critical view of the U.S. fifth place rank in this report," Janet Boyd, president of Charities Aid Foundation America, in Alexandria, Va., said in a statement. "But that also does not mean that we should be complacent as a nation when there is so much more that can be done."
The researchers also examined whether giving was tied more to wealth or happiness—and happiness won. The percentage of people who give correlates more with countries whose populations are more satisfied than countries with high gross domestic products.
[Source: Chronicle of Philanthropy article by Suzanne Perry]