Latvia is far from the most charitable country in the world, but its people are more giving than those in neighboring nations, according to a new study.
The United Kingdom-based Charities Aid Foundation’s (CAF) first-ever World Giving Index ranks Latvia 115th among 153 countries examined. The index was announced Sept. 8.
Based on data collected by the Gallup Inc. in its WorldView World Poll, the index ranks countries on three measures: the percent of people who give money to a charitable organization, the percent who volunteer time to an organization, and the percent who have helped a stranger.
Latvia received the same overall score as Armenia, El Salvador and Ecuador.
In Latvia, the survey found, 16 percent of the population has given money, 18 percent has given time, and 34 percent has helped a stranger. Latvia also has a wellbeing score of 4.7, indicating that people in the country do not feel very positive about their lives, which can affect their ability and desire to be charitable.
Latvia ranked ahead of its neighbors Estonia (ranked 121st), Russia (138th) and Lithuania (147th). However, Belarus scored 106.
The World Giving Index report notes that charitable giving is complex and is not necessarily tied to the wealth of a nation.
“The incidence of giving money to charity ranges from as low as 4 percent in Lithuania to as high as 83 percent in Malta,” according to the report. “Incidence of volunteering lies in a range from 2 percent in Cambodia to 61 percent in Turkmenistan. Each country has its own unique footprint and its own way to give. In Liberia, less than one tenth (8 percent) of the population give money to charity every month. Yet over three-quarters (76 percent) of Liberians help a stranger every month, more than any other country in the world.”
At the top of the index are Australia and New Zealand. Last in the index is Madagascar.
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