Generosity around the world

From John Hobbins:

Click Here for Statistics on “Volunteering and giving as a share of GDP”
(Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project).

I’m not sure how the data was collected, but here’s what I noticed:

  • Tanzania is #4 in “all private philanthropy”; #3 in volunteering
  • Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania appear to be holding their own in giving percentages (top 11/top quarter).
  • USA is #1 in giving $$; #8 in time.

A different analysis of American giving breaks it American giving down into different categories and demographics. Notably, charitable giving is strongest among “born-again” Christians. Low-income employed Americans give the highest portion of their income, 4.5%.

John asks:

Is it because the US economy has less mandatory redistribution of wealth that its citizens give more voluntarily, a suggestion made, not surprisingly, in a Forbes article?

But notes:

. . . that does not explain the relatively high levels of giving in Israel and Canada, which have, if I’m not mistaken, governments which “level the playing field” through taxation far more than is the case in the US.

See also A Nation of Givers (At first glance, it looks like Brooks’s analysis doesn’t exactly line up with Johns Hopkins statistics above; maybe we are comparing apples and oranges.)

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Now Scot McKnight adds:

What is America like? Are we generous or are we the spoiled brat in the global village? How Christian are the Christians in politics? Third Way thinking addresses these issues, and Adam Hamilton’s book sketches ideas for us to think about when we think of America’s image in the world. See his book Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White: Thoughts on Religion, Morality, and Politics.

We have 5% of the world’s population; we consume 22% of its energy resources. We expect other countries to go along with our global and national designs. We are obese while other nations struggle with starvation.

We think we are generous. According to the Congressional Research Service, in 2004, we were the largest dollar donors in the world — we gave .2 of our GDP. 5 times less than we were giving in the 1970s. Our income in that time has increased 5 times. Half of our 20 billion dollars in aid went to the poor — the rest went to foreign militaries. We give the most to Israel. Germany gives twice as much as we do in aid; France gives three times more of its GDP and Denmark seven times more.

But, American individuals are generous, leading many foreigners to like Americans but not the USA. In 2000 we gave away — as individuals — 33.6 billion dollars. . . .continue reading McKnight quoting Hamilton

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