Ireland may be struggling financially, but the nation is still top of the table when it comes to charity.

The annual World Giving Index has confirmed that Ireland is again the most generous nation in Europe and the fifth most generous in the world. The U.S. is number one overall.

The 2013 World Giving Index 2013 rated countries in three categories – direct donations to charity, volunteering personal time and helping strangers.

It’s the third year in a row that Ireland has topped the European chart, but the global position sees a drop from second to fifth.

The Irish Times
reports that 70 percent of people donate money to charity, 37 percent give up their time for various causes and 64 percent of people help strangers.

The Volunteer Ireland group welcomed the findings and noted Ireland’s on-going charitable efforts despite austerity measures in the wake of the collapse of the Celtic Tiger.

The group’s chief executive Yvonne McKenna told the Irish Times: “The research highlights the remarkable generosity of spirit that continues to thrive in Ireland throughout difficult times.

“Connecting with people is something that is inherent to our culture in Ireland, and this is reflected in the statistics.”

A statement from Volunteer Ireland praised the recorded three percent national increase in the number of people giving up their time for good causes, up to 37 percent. A large percentage of the increase was in the over-50s age group.