America is obsessed with being No. 1. It dominates in military power, economic prosperity, high technology, even movie blockbusters. Recently, its glorious résumé was freshened up with yet another impressive credential: The world’s most benevolent country of 2014, a title it shares with Myanmar.
As the Charities Aid Foundation reported in this year’s World Giving Index, the U.S. was the only nation to rank in the top 10 for each of the three charitable giving behaviors that are measured. It leads in “helping strangers,” jointly ranks fifth with three other countries in “volunteering time” and places ninth in “donating money.”
Just how generous are Americans? According to the National Philanthropic Trust, 95.4 percent of households donate to charities, with each contributing an annual average of $2,974. In 2013 alone, Americans gave more than $335 billion, 72 percent of which came directly from individuals. Of course, being charitable isn’t all about donating money to the needy. Earlier this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nearly 63 million people volunteered with an organization at least once between September 2012 and September 2013.
In the spirit of inspiring more Americans to increase their charitable giving this holiday season, WalletHub aimed the spotlight at the most generous of the 50 states. WalletHub analyzed a total of eight key metrics, among which are volunteer rate, the percentage of the population who donated time and money, and the median contribution to charity. Which state was the most charitable? Utah.
Utahns had the highest volunteer rate, highest percentage of donated income, highest median contribution to charity and the second highest growth in charitable giving (2012 versus 2006).
California came in a dismal 41st out of the 50 states analyzed.