The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine has brought out the charitable in all of us; people around the world have been donating to relief organizations who are providing food, clean water and shelter to people who have been bombed out of their homes. Overall , the U.S. citizens and government have provided by far the largest contribution, equivalent to $7.6 billion, while neighboring Poland, in second place, has given roughly $1 billion.  The UK, Germany and France round out the top five when it comes to helping their neighbor.

By another measure, however, the U.S. would rank sixth.  When aid is compared with the size of the country’s total GDP, Estonia is by far the most generous nation, having contributed just under 0.8% of the value of its economy to aid the Ukrainians in distress.  Poland comes in a distant second, with less than 0.2% of its economy, and the U.S. contribution is less than half a tenth of a percent.

Looking at a broader picture, this raises an interesting question: which country has tended to have the most generous citizens?  A report by the Inside Charity nonprofit news source cites a survey that strongly suggests that Americans win the title of most generous, and have been winning it for the nearly 250 years of the country’s existence.

The most recent data shows that roughly 66% of all Americans, from the top to the bottom of the income spectrum, have donated to at least one charity in the past year, and 34% did so more than once.  71% of the respondents said that their debt has kept them from donating; they wish they could give more.

They seem to be stepping up to the current crisis.  Overall, Ukraine has received more than 600 non-government humanitarian grants from American citizens and companies, totaling just under $900 million.  Charities like Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Open Society Foundation have donated $10 million and $25 million respectively in humanitarian aid, and the American Red Cross has donated $12 million in relief funds.  Sunflower Railroad, a group of military veterans and emergency health professionals, are in the process of donating an ambulance to Ukraine—proving that Americans also lead the world in philanthropic creativity.

This article was written by an independent writer for Brewster Financial Planning LLC and is not intended as individualized legal or investment advice.