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World Giving Index 2014: Myanmar and the USA rank at the top


Each year based on the Gallop Poll data – a British-based organization called Charities Aid Foundation, publishes their ranking of the most giving countries in the world. The ranking is based on three factors:

1. How many people help strangers,
2. How much money they donate and,
3. How much time they spend volunteering.

Most Giving Country in the World - Myanmar.

Most Giving Country in the World – Myanmar.

It may seem logical that the US ranks so high because in terms of Gross Domestic Product it is the richest country in the world. But it might seem strange at first why a relatively poor country like Myanmar would rank so high. If you dig deeper into the culture and the people – it become quite clear why this is so possible.

Of all the factors, the people of Myanmar are driven by a strong sense of giving because of the deep rooted Theravada Buddhist philosophy – that permeates throughout the country. Incredibly high percentage of the people donate (91%). Compare that to Nepal which ranks 44 in the giving index.

Country Total Global Rank Helping strangers Donating  Money Volunteering
Myanmar 1 49% 91% 51%
Nepal 44 52% 34% 29%
USA 1 79% 68% 51%

The fact that 91% of the people donate money, despite their economic status bodes strongly for the culture and the religion. The research showed that 36 million Myanmar people had donated money. Myanmar with a 500,000 monk population has the highest ratio of monk to people of any other Buddhist nation. Coupled with the fact that 90% of the people of Myanmar follow the Theravada school of Buddhism, helps promote the idea of giving. The monks (Sanga) are supported by (Dana) or charitable giving. Shri Lanka, another strong Theravada practicing country also ranked high in the giving index. Their rank is 9th.

Theravada practitioners believe that one of the paths to earning “merit” is through the practice of charitable giving. Last year, only 85% of the people reported that they donated money in Myanmar. This year the percentage rose to 91%. Last year Myanmar was ranked number 2 in the world giving index.

In terms of volunteering time, Myanmar ranks 2nd with 51% of the people donating their time to a charitable cause. In this measure, US ranks only 5th. Another strong Theravada practicing country Shri Lanka – ranks 3rd.

As far as “helping a stranger”, Myanmar did not rank in the top 10 in the world. USA was the top country with 79% of the people who had helped strangers. Myanmar ranked 63 in the “helping strangers” category.