September 9, 2010; Source: Denver Post | The Charity Aid Foundation in Great Britain yesterday released the results of a first of its kind comparative survey ranking 153 countries on the willingness of citizens to donate time and money.

Participants in the survey were asked whether they had (1) donated money, (2) volunteered time, and (3) helped a stranger—all in the month before the survey. The most charitable nations, where 57 percent of participants had done all three were New Zealand and Australia. Then came Canada and Ireland at 56 percent and the United States and Switzerland at 55 percent.

The study found real variations in charitable behavior in the countries surveyed, as the following statistics indicate. First in percentage of the population that donated to a charity: Malta at 83 percent. First in percentage of the population that volunteered time to an organization: Turkmenistan at 61 percent. First in percentage of the population that helped a complete stranger or someone they did not know who needed help: Liberia at 76 percent.

In the U.S., 60 percent of participants gave to an organization, 39 percent volunteered time, and 65 percent helped a stranger. One fascinating side finding of this very interesting study is that happy people tend to give more. “Significantly, the correlation between happiness and giving is stronger than the correlation between wealth and giving.”—Ruth McCambridge