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These are the most “caring” countries on the planet

U.S. President Barack Obama during a visit to Martha's Table, a kitchen that provides meals for the needy, in Washington October 14, 2013.
Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
Setting an example.
By Sonali Kohli
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

If you’ve been following the news from Myanmar, where Buddhist mobs are accused of perpetrating a genocide against minority Muslims, this will come as a surprise: The people of Myanmar (also known as Burma) regard themselves as highly charitable. So charitable, in fact, that a new poll ranks Myanmar— alongside the US—as the world’s most caring nation.

That’s according to the Charities Aid Foundation, which released its annual World Giving Index report this month. Of course, all this do-gooding is self-reported, so it’s possible that people are making themselves sound better than they are.

The 2013 report ranks 135 countries, with about 1,000 respondents in each country, according to the report. Myanmar is not the only surprising name on the list: Nigeria, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia—countries more commonly associated with terrorism, human-rights abuses, and the suppression of women and minorities—all see themselves as highly charitable. The people of Yemen consider themselves the least giving of all, with an overall score of 14%.

The rating is based on a Gallup survey that asks whether people have helped a stranger, donated money, or volunteered any time in the past month. The US and Myanmar tie for the top spot: 79% of Americans said they helped a stranger in the last month.

Meanwhile, 91% of Myanmar residents said they had opened their wallets to charity. The poll doesn’t measure how much they gave, just how many people reported giving.

Overall, people were less likely to volunteer their time than they were to help a stranger out or write a check. The people of Turkmenistan, ranked 23 on the overall list, were most likely to report volunteering—53%.

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