Measuring the kindness of strangers

Adapted from an article published in The Christian Science Monitor, November 13, 2017.

How many people honored last year’s World Kindness Day on Nov. 13, preferably with a random act of kindness? How many even knew about it? By one indicator, probably fewer than in previous years.

The proportion of people who “helped a stranger” went down in 2016, according to the World Giving Index. It fell 1.8 percentage points, with 80 countries seeing a decline compared to 52 that saw an increase.

Public indifference toward World Kindness Day may be excused by the fact that the annual celebration has been around fewer than 20 years. Perhaps even younger is the science of measuring kindness (if it can be measured at all).

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