AUSTRALIA is the most charitable nation in the world, a new study shows, with Greece being the meanest.
The Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index ranked Australia first followed by Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and the US.
The pressure on the household budgets of Greeks was reflected in most of the 146 nations surveyed, with the aftershocks of the 2008 financial crisis reducing the amount of time and money people were willing to devote to charity. The survey showed 28 per cent of people gave money to charity last year compared with almost 30 per cent in 2007.
''In large parts of the world, household incomes are being squeezed, prices are rising and job insecurity is on the increase, with the result that many simply have less time and money to spare,'' John Low, the chief executive of the group, said.
In Greece, the share of people donating to charity fell to 5 per cent from 7 per cent in 2010.
Still, 3 per cent of Greeks volunteered time to charitable causes, unchanged from a year earlier, and 30 per cent said they had helped a stranger compared with 28 per cent.
About 165 million Indians, 143 million Americans and 126 Indonesians donated money, the survey showed.
Women donated more money than men last year around the world, although men were more likely to volunteer time and help a stranger, the charity said.
Gallup interviewed more than 155,000 people in 146 countries on behalf of the group, which provides financial services and social finance to charities.