5 United States
On the other hand, there is also something to be said for the sheer amount of money given in international aid. And that is where the United States shines—according to MarketWatch, America sent just over $30 billion abroad in 2012, which was more than twice as much as the second-ranked donor on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's list. The downside is that the United States could do even more: that money is less than 0.2 percent of the U.S. gross national income.
When it comes to international aid, there are two ways to consider a nation's charity. The sheer amount of dollars given can be impressive, but it also favors larger countries. A tiny nation like Luxembourg can't compete with the United States in dollars, but it can show its generosity another way: the percentage of its gross national income that is spent on international aid. And there, this tiny European nation tops the world, giving a full 1 percent of its income in 2012, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The old saw says charity begins at home, and no nation spends more money helping its own people than France. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the French government spent 32.1 percent of its gross domestic product on social needs, tops in the world. For a country whose monarchs were once infamous for their "let them eat cake" attitude toward the poor, that is quite a nice turnaround.
When it comes to fighting poverty in the developing world, the Danes have cornered the market. Denmark ranked first in the Center for Global Development's Commitment to Development Index based on the quality of its support for less-fortunate nations. On a scale where a score of 5 is average, the Danes were the only nation to reach a score of 7 in 2012. Anyone who thinks governments can't make a difference should look to Scandinavia, the region that is home to the top three countries in this index.
When it comes to charity, the Land Down Under would be better called the Land Up Top. Australia dominated the World Giving Index 2012. This index measured the percentage of citizens who performed one of three good deeds: donating money to charity, volunteering time and doing a good deed for a stranger. A whopping 60 percent of Aussies made some kind of contribution to the betterment of the world, which placed them just ahead of Ireland on the Charities Aid Foundation's survey.