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Australia Moves Up International Scale of Generosity

18 November 2014 at 11:20 am
Xavier Smerdon
Australia has climbed to sixth place in a global report measuring generosity around the world after New Zealand.

Xavier Smerdon | 18 November 2014 at 11:20 am


Australia Moves Up International Scale of Generosity
18 November 2014 at 11:20 am

Australia has climbed to sixth place in a global report measuring generosity around the world after New Zealand.

The number of people saying they had helped a stranger has risen over the past year, with over 300,000 more Australians offering help in 2013 than in 2012.

The number of Australians volunteering also rose and sees an increase of three percentage points since last year’s report.

The World Giving Index, a study of global charitable behaviour, has been released by international charity, Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

The Index is based on surveys in 135 countries over the last year by Gallup and looks at three measures of giving: the percentage of people who give money to charity, volunteer their time or help a stranger in a typical month.

Australia’s World Giving Index score is up by one percentage point to 56 per cent, despite the fact that the percentage donating money fell by one percentage point to 66 per cent.

Lisa Grinham, Chief Executive of CAF Australia, said: "It’s great to see people in this country giving even more of their time to good causes."

“From previous reports we’ve seen Australians jump in to help in times of global crisis to support those in need.

“Now we need to help turn this generosity into a more sustained approach to giving in this country, which will benefit all kinds of voluntary organisations.”

Overall, the World Giving Index report showed that more people are giving their time to good causes and performing acts of kindness.

Globally, the number of people who helped a stranger in 2013 has risen by 226 million year-on-year and 132 million more people are volunteering.

The proportion of people giving money to charity has fallen slightly – by 0.6 percentage points and seems to reflect the slight fall in the global GDP growth rate reported between 2012 and 2013.

The Index found that the United States and Myanmar (formerly Burma) drew as the most generous countries in the world, with Canada third, Ireland fourth and New Zealand fifth.  The next five most generous countries were Australia, Malaysia and the UK (in joint seventh), Sri Lanka and Trinidad and Tobago respectively.

Yemen was bottom of the World Giving Index with Venezuela just above them.

Just five of the countries in the top twenty are members of the G20, the group representing the world’s largest economies. Eleven G20 countries are outside the Top 50 and three of these are outside the Top 100.

Typhoon Haiyan appears to have had a significant impact on giving in Malaysia. The country has risen from 71st to 7th in the index as participation in all three behaviours significantly increased, likely as a result of the humanitarian effort made towards the neighbouring disaster in the Philippines.

Iraq has seen a huge jump in the proportion of people helping a stranger – from 42 per cent in 2012 to 75 per cent in 2013. This is likely to be a reaction to the increasing violence in Iraq and an increased need to help those who have been affected.

The report said the analysis of global giving over the past five years shows that across the three measures giving dropped in 2009, the year after the 2008 financial crisis, recovered in 2010, and then fell sharply in 2011, before rising again in 2012 and 2013.

Despite the gap in economic participation which still exists between men and women, the report said women are more likely overall to give money to charity than men. However, this is only true in high income countries, among middle and low income countries men are more likely to give.

On the three key indicators of helping a stranger, giving money and giving time the report found that in 2013:

Helping a Stranger

  •        Americans were more likely to help strangers than any other nationality in 2013 (79 per cent), and the country also boasts the third highest number of people who do so
  •        Iraq and Trinidad and Tobago were joint second for the numbers of people helping a stranger (75 per cent), followed by Jamaica and Liberia in joint fourth place (73 per cent)
  •        China tops the list for the highest number of people helping strangers due to its large population. Almost 409 million people had helped a stranger in China in the previous month. 

Giving Money

  •        The proportion of people giving money has fallen  in 2013 by 0.6 percentage points compared to 2012, which reflect a fall in GDP during the same time period
  •        Myanmar was number one for giving money, 91 per cent report giving to charity in the previous month.
  •        Malta (78 per cent) was in second place for giving money, followed by Thailand (77 per cent) and Ireland and the UK in joint fourth (74 per cent)
  •        The US joins the top ten for the first time since 2011 for giving money, making it the only country in the top ten for all three types of generosity
  •        Fewer people in the 15 – 29 age group are giving money, possibly due to high youth unemployment around the world, which continues to increase
  •        Whilst developing and developed countries saw fewer people giving money, transitioning economies have shown a small rise

Giving Time

  •        Turkmenistan topped the list of countries with the highest proportion of people giving time (53 per cent), followed by Myanmar (51 per cent), Sri Lanka (50 per cent) and Uzbekistan (46 per cent)
  •        Volunteering in Ireland and Nigeria has increased by 4 percentage points and 5 percentage points respectively since last year’s report, and Malaysia has seen a 22 percentage point rise in volunteering, pushing these countries into the top ten
  •        India has the most people volunteering time, with 186.5 million doing so
  •        Whilst 22.8 per cent of men volunteer globally, 19.5 per cent of women do – a gap that has widened slightly over the last few years

The World Giving Index is based upon data from Gallup’s World View World Poll, an ongoing research project carried out in more than 140 countries in 2013 that together represent around 94 per cent of the world’s population (around 4.96 billion people).

The countries surveyed and questions asked in each region varies from year to year and is determined by Gallup. More detail on Gallup’s methodology can be viewed online.

In most countries surveyed, 1,000 questionnaires are completed by a representative sample of individuals living across the country. The coverage area is the entire country including rural areas. The sampling frame represents the entire civilian, non-institutionalised, aged 15 and older population of the entire country.

In all, over 130,000 people were interviewed by Gallup in 2013 and samples are probability-based. Surveys are carried out by telephone or face-to-face depending on the country’s telephone coverage.

View the full report here:

CAF is an international UK registered charity. Its mission is to motivate society to give ever more effectively, and help transform lives and communities around the world. It advises on and distributes charitable funds around the world and has offices in nine regions: the UK, America, Canada, Brazil, Russia, India, Australia, Southern Africa and Bulgaria.

World Giving Index 2014

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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