The UK, Ireland and the Netherlands are the 'most generous' countries in Europe, while giving is most prevalent in Malta and Iceland, according to this year’s World Giving Index from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).


Other European countries in the top 20 are: Norway, (14th), Malta (16th), Iceland (17th) and Denmark (20th).


The UK and Ireland take 8th and 9th place in this year’s global ranking, with the Netherlands falling from the top ten to 13th place. In the UK, almost seven in ten people surveyed said they had donated money: down from three quarters last year. In addition, 61% had helped a stranger and one third had volunteered.


The Index questioned 148,000 people in 140 countries on whether they had helped a stranger in the past month, volunteered their time or gave money to a good cause as part of Gallup’s World Poll.


Malta sees more people donate than any other European nation, with 73% of those questioned having given financially to charity in the last year. Iceland, the UK, Norway, Netherlands, and Ireland are also in the top ten for donating money, taking places 6 to 10.


However, no European countries appear in the top 10 for helping a stranger and only Ireland holds a position (10th) in the top 10 for volunteering time.


The Index also gives the long-term five-year ranking: Ireland, UK, and the Netherlands all feature in this top 10, taking the 6th, 7th, and 8th places respectively.


In Europe, helping a stranger is the most common giving behaviour, with 44% of those questioned having done so in the past year, while 36% had donated money, and 19% had volunteered time. 


Overall, Myanmar was the most generous country for the third year running. The United States was second, making it the most generous nation in the western world, followed by Australia.


Across all continents, except Oceania, helping a stranger is the most common way of giving, and all except Oceania see one-year scores higher than their five-year averages – notably Africa, Asia and the Americas. Last year all continents reported a positive differential between the current year and long term average for giving money, with the most notable differences being in Europe and Asia, which both increased by 5 percentage points. This year however there is no such pattern.