Thursday, 20th December 2012 at 9:36 am
Australia is the most generous country on earth, according to a new global index of giving.
The World Giving Index 2012, compiled by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), an international charity which promotes charitable giving via companies and individuals, found Australia topped the 2012 table, and also headed a new five year index which looks at giving between 2007 and the most recent year of fieldwork, 2011.
The survey, compiled by CAF using polling information from Gallup on the charitable behaviour of more than 155,000 people in 146 countries, found more Australians had, on average, donated money, volunteered time or helped a stranger in the past month than any other country, ahead of Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.
Overall 76% of Australians had given money to a good cause in the past month, up on last year, while 67% had helped a stranger. More than a third (37%) of Australians had volunteered time.
According to CAF Australia CEO, Lisa Grinham, “The start to 2011 was tragic for many Australians, with the floods in Queensland and Victoria. This was followed by the devastating earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand and tsunami in Japan. Australians are very generous when it comes to helping each other and our close neighbours in times of disaster, so it’s not surprising that we have topped the 2012 World Giving Index.”
The Index found that overall, the world became a less generous place last year and, in a previously unrevealed trend, giving worldwide appears to be mirroring global economic patterns.
It says the sharp decline in global generosity in 2011 has led to what is being termed as a ‘double dip’ in giving.
According to the report, the proportion of people giving money to good causes, volunteering or helping a stranger all fell last year and were also down on 2007.
The report found that the average proportion of people across 146 countries donating money in the past month to charity fell from 29.8% in 2007 to 28% in 2011.
The percentage of people helping strangers in the past month was 45.1% in 2011 – down from 47.0% in 2007, while the proportion volunteering their time was down from 21.4% in 2007 to 18.4% in 2011.
Analysis of global giving over the past five years shows giving dropped in 2009, the year after the 2008 financial crisis, recovered in 2010, and then fell sharply again in 2011.
Overall the index found that Australia was the most generous country on earth, followed in second place by Ireland. Canada was the third most charitable nation, New Zealand the fourth, and the United States the fifth.
The five next most generous countries were the Netherlands, Indonesia, the UK, Paraguay and Denmark respectively.
The two countries jointly at the bottom of the Index were Greece and Montenegro.
Around the world, more women donated money than men in 2011, but men were more likely to volunteer time and help a stranger.
The report also indicates that there is a generational gap in giving worldwide.
Over the past five years, 16-24 year olds have been as much as 10 percentage points less likely than the over 50s to donate money.
On the three key indicators of giving money, giving time and helping a stranger, the report found that in 2011:
· India was the country with the largest number of people donating money, with 165m people giving money in the last month. The United States was second with 143m followed by Indonesia (126.2m) China (109m) and Thailand (39m).
· Ireland was the country with the biggest proportion of people giving money, with 79% of people donating money in the past month. Australia was ranked second (76%) followed by the Netherlands (73%) the UK (72%) and Indonesia (71%).
· The United States was the country with the largest number of people volunteering time, with 105m volunteers, followed by India (87m) Indonesia (72.8m) China (44m) and the Philippines (27m).
· Turkmenistan topped the list of countries with the highest proportion of people giving time (58%) followed by Liberia (53%) Uzbekistan (46%) Tajikistan (45%) and the Philippines (44%).
Helping a stranger
· Liberia had the largest proportion of people who helped a stranger in the past month (81%) followed by Oman (72%) Qatar (71%) Sierra Leone (71%) and the United States (71%).
· China had the largest number of people who helped a stranger in the past month (283m) followed by the United States (178m) India (165m) Indonesia (76m) and Brazil (65m).
John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “This report shows that giving is susceptible to fragility in world economic conditions. It shows a notable drop in giving despite of growth in global GDP."
“In large parts of the world, household income is being squeezed, prices are rising and job insecurity is on the increase, with the result that many simply less have time and money to spare.
“As our report shows, trends in worldwide giving appear to mirror those in the global economy and we are now experiencing a double dip in giving.
“It is truly humbling that hundreds of millions of people around the world donate their time, money and help strangers. But our report lays bare how our global generosity is reflects the economic backdrop.
“With the worrying decline in giving and support for charity, it is critical that politicians, businesses and people across the world take action to support charities and those who depend on their vital work.”