Giving by world middle class could approach quarter of a trillion dollars a year by 2030

26 February 2013

The vast expansion of the global middle class could lead to global charitable giving of nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars a year if people in rapidly developing economies give in line with the UK, according to a new report published today.

Giving could rise to $224 billion a year (£146bn) by 2030 – enough to wipe out extreme poverty and in excess of the Gross Domestic Product of Ireland - if the world's middle classes match the average 0.4% of spending donated to charity by people in the UK.

The Future World Giving report launched today (Tuesday) at an event at the House of Commons by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), an international charity which promotes charitable giving and provides financial services and social finance to not-for-profit organisations.

The report aims to estimate the possible extent of charitable giving around the world if governments and the voluntary sector were to harness the potential of the huge expansion of the middle classes.

The number of middle class people globally is projected to grow by 165 per cent by 2030 - from 1.8 billion in 2009 to 4.9 billion in 2030 - according to OECD data, with their spending power set to grow by 161 per cent over the same period. 

Seventy per cent of this growth is forecast to occur outside the traditional world centres of giving in Europe and North America.

The world’s ultra-rich is also growing, with the number of people worth $100 million or more predicted to grow from 63,000 in 2011 to 86,000 by 2016.

CAF is launching a major project to examine how governments around the world can make these levels of giving a reality by promoting charitable giving, ensuring there are the right incentives for people to give and setting standards of transparency for charities to build trust.

John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “Across the world developing economies are growing at a phenomenal rate as countries like China, India and Brazil emerge as economic superpowers.

“The massive expansion of wealth that will come from this social change means there will be vast untapped potential for people to contribute to causes in their countries and across the globe. If the new middle classes give to charity like we do in the UK, the potential to transform the world for the better will be vast.

“'Governments and civil society across the world need to harness these powerful social trends. We need to prepare for these changes now to make sure that people can support the causes they care about with confidence and ease".

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