The world just received its report card on which countries are more generous than others, and this year, Africa is coming up roses.

The company that compiles the list of most generous countries, the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), said that the most remarkable change to the top ten is the surge in aid from African countries.

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“Around the world, economic development is lifting the income of millions of people and it is truly humbling to see that the natural reaction to increasing wealth is to give back to the society that nurtured it,” Sir John Low, chief executive of CAF, announced.

The annual index measures generosity by three factors: the amount of money donated, participation in volunteering, and helping a stranger. CAF gathered survey responses from over 146,000 people across 139 countries and averaged their responses for the times they participated in either of the three categories.

Africa is the only continent to see improvements in all three categories this year.

Globally, the totals for 2017 fall short of the totals for 2016 in all three categories, and only six of the G20 largest economies in the world rank among the top 20. The United States, United Kingdom, and Australia all dropped in their ranking and their scores; the US dropped from second-most generous in 2016 to?, and the UK no longer ranks among the top 10.

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Charity leaders say that some of the changes to the top 10 are a result of changes in how the index is compiled. A change in the window of time in which the index is compiled meant that some key donations may not have been passed in time to be considered.

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Here are the top 10 most-generous countries in the world today:

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10. Netherlands

Just over half (51%) of Netherland’s population reported participating in at least one of the three categories for 2017. The country improved from 13th most generous in 2016 to the tenth spot this year, although this is in part due to other major countries receiving lower scores than in years previous.

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9. United Arab Emirates

While the U.A.E. ranked high in its percentage of people helping a stranger (71%), it ranked the lowest of the top ten countries in the volunteering category by eight percentage points with only 27% of its people giving back in that way. Because the survey was collected during Ramadan, a Muslim holiday during which many people participate in more volunteering events, could have had an effect on the U.A.E. rising from tenth to ninth overall.

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8. Ireland

The northern European country has been a steady giver, despite not reaching the top ten in each individual category, and this year makes the top 10, due in part to the overall decrease in generosity worldwide.

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7. Canada

Canada ranks higher (fourth overall) on the CAF index’s five-year ranking, but this year the country saw lower scores in overall generosity (56% in 2016 to 54% this year) and fell from sixth to seventh.

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6. Australia

After seeing steady yearly increases for the past few years, Australia’s generosity score dropped by 10% from last year, one of the sharpest declines among the Western countries, although experts are not sure what accounts for this speedy drop.  

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5. USA

This the US’s lowest ranking since 2011, the second year the annual index was published. The report from CAF notes that the survey of the US’s generosity took place prior to the election of President Trump.

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4. New Zealand

New Zealand retains its spot in fourth place, despite a slight decrease of 2% from last year. Last year, the island country ranked just behind the US in the percentage of GDP that goes toward charity.

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3. Kenya

Kenya saw one of the biggest improvements among all countries this year as its index score increased from 52% to 60%, with helping a stranger as the driving force behind this surge in generosity.

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2. Indonesia

Indonesia saw the highest score for time spent volunteering at 55%, although the rise in people donating money to charity is the major factor behind its increase from last year’s score. It received the highest ranking of all of the G20’s largest economies for 2017.

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1. Myanmar

For the fourth year running, Myanmar claims the title of the world’s most generous country. The World Bank classifies the country as Lower Middle Income, which confounds traditional assumptions tying global generosity to wealth.

Experts say the popularity of Buddhism in the country (between 80% and 90% practice Buddhism) could be a major contributor to the generosity and volunteering nature of its people. However, there is more work to be done in Myanmar, especially as its Rohingya Muslim minority continues to struggle with poverty and lack of access to citizen rights.


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Por Tess Sohngen