Revealed: Asia's most, and least, charitable people

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TANG CHHIN SOTHY | AFP | Getty Images

When it comes to charitable giving, wealth is not necessarily the best predictor of big-heartedness.

Within Asia, consumers in Thailand and Vietnam - among the region's low-income countries polled - are the most likely to donate to charity, according to MasterCard's Charitable Giving Survey 2014.

The survey, published on Wednesday, polled 500 respondents aged between 18 and 64 in 14 countries around the region. Over 70 percent of respondents from both Thailand and Vietnam, said they were contributing to charity this year.

This stood in contrast to results from the region's wealthier economies, such as Australia and South Korea, where 52 percent and 29 percent of respondents, respectively, said they planned to donate. The Japanese are the least likely in the region to donate to charity, with only 16 percent saying they are doing so.

"Charitable giving behavior differs around the world and is influenced by various factors such as culture, age, level of disposable income, as well as the presence of conflict," Georgette Tan, Asia Pacific group head of communications at MasterCard, said.

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Children's health and education is the cause respondents in the region feel most passionately about. It was mentioned in 13 of the 14 countries surveyed as one of the top three causes closest to respondents' hearts.

Across all markets, consumers aged between 50 and 64 are unsurprisingly more likely to donate (59 percent) to charity than those in the 18 to 24 years old age group (45 percent).

While the Thai and Vietnamese were more likely to donate than all their fellow Asian peers, the biggest givers in dollar terms were from New Zealand. Kiwis were the most likely to make individual donations of more than $500, followed by people in Hong Kong and Australia.

In all three, consumers are most likely to donate to charities focused on serious illnesses.

"Perhaps this is due to the increased prevalence of serious illnesses such as cancer in more developed economies where the population tends to live to an older age. Nevertheless, a desire to support and protect children – the future generation – appears to be universal," Tan said.