On list of generous nations, US ranks 5th

Gallup has released “The World Giving Index 2010” and the United States is tied for fifth with Switzerland and behind Australia and New Zealand (tied for first) and Ireland and Canada (tied for third).

It looks like respondents were asked whether they did three things within the past month: gave money to an organization, volunteered for an organization, or helped someone they didn’t know.

Gallup suggests “the level of satisfaction or happiness of the population is emerging as the key driver for increasing the giving of money.” They also argue there could be “a positive cycle of giving” where happier people give to others who then are more likely to give.

I would be interested to know how much a country’s culture affects this. Are there certain societal traits that lead to more giving? Or are there certain economic and governmental structures that encourage more giving?

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