Sweden’s expansive welfare state helps to explain the vitality of the volunteer organisations in the country, says Svedberg. “The welfare state plays a very important part by giving people the practical and mental space necessary to be able to be active. It creates possibilities for citizens.” Strikingly, the people who volunteer the most are those you might think have the least time available. “Most volunteers are working full time and have one or two children,” he says. “They tend to be well educated and well connected. If you are connected to different social arenas, you are more likely to be recruited into volunteering activities.”
– from The Guardian, cited in Neatorama
No surprises here. It is also striking that the most atheist societies in the world, in Northern Europe, also are the most compassionate in terms of taking care of their own citizens, spending the most on foreign aid, and so on.