Newswise — As Americans open their pocketbooks to charities this holiday season, a Johns Hopkins study shows that the United States lags behind other countries in terms of private philanthropy, at least when the value of volunteer work is included.

The United States ranks only seventh in the world in its level of private philanthropy as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP), according to a study from the Center for Civil Society Studies at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies.

Excluding giving to religion, for which data are unavailable for other countries, American giving accounted for only 2.5 percent of GDP, compared to the Netherlands at 4.5 percent and Sweden at 4.4 percent. Other countries with giving rates higher than the United States included Norway, France, and the United Kingdom. These figures include both financial donations and volunteer work, which was valued at the average wage of a community worker.

The data were generated by a team of researchers around the world led by Johns Hopkins professor Lester Salamon as part of the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project. Study results appear in the new book, Global Civil Society: Dimensions of the Nonprofit Sector, Volume Two.

To download a chart with data on private philanthropy in over 30 countries, go to: (see Table 5).

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