Global adults are more likely to help a stranger in need than to donate money to charity or volunteer time, according to Gallup’s 2016 Global Civic Engagement report.
Gallup’s report is based on a survey asking three questions of adults from 140 nations: In the past month, have you:
- Donated money to a charity?
- Volunteered your time to an organization?
- Helped a stranger or someone you didn’t know who needed help?
While 1.4 billion donated money and 1 billion volunteered time, 2.2 billion helped a stranger in need. “Notably, majorities in 72 countries had helped a stranger in need,” Gallup commented.
The top five countries for overall civic engagement were Myanmar, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
While noting a strong correlation between a nation’s high gross domestic product and its citizens’ civic engagement, the report said that Myanmar topping the list demonstrates “the most civically engaged populations in the world are not necessarily the richest.”
Gallup attributed this to “the strong influence in Myanmar of the Theravada Buddhist belief that what people do in this life improves the chances of their next life being a better one.”
The nation with the lowest civic engagement was China. This “illustrates how philanthropy is not yet part of daily life for many Chinese, despite their increasing wealth,” Gallup said.
Adults in Myanmar (91 percent) were the most likely to donate money, those in Turkmenistan (60 percent) were most likely to volunteer their time, and those in Libya (79 percent) were most likely to help a stranger in need.
“Encouraging citizens to share responsibility for the problems facing their communities and getting them to participate in solving them is arguably one of the most important tasks for global leaders in the years to come,” the report asserted.
“Leaders must crack the code on what motivates some individuals to give incredible amounts of their time, effort and talent – most times without pay and often at great risk – to benefit people they don’t know and perhaps will never see again.”
The full report is available here.