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More people across the world are giving to good causes and helping others

10 November 2015

More people across the world are giving to good causes and helping others – CAF World Giving Index 2015.

A growing proportion of the world’s population are donating money to charity and performing acts of kindness, according to the world’s leading study of global generosity.

The CAF World Giving Index, published today by the Charities Aid Foundation, indicates that people across the world are becoming more generous with their money, but slightly less generous with their time.

It shows that 1.4 billion people had given money to charity in 2014, a global participation level of 31.5% – up from 28.3% in 2013.

The rise in giving has been seen across all world economy types, from wealthy nations in the developed world like Australia, the Netherlands and Germany, to developing economies like Thailand and Chile.

The report also suggests that almost half (48.9%) of the planet’s population aged 15 and older had helped a stranger in 2014 – up slightly on the previous year.

Religious practices, conflict and natural disasters appear to have driven some of the biggest increases in generosity.

However, there has been a slight decrease in the proportion of people who said they had volunteered time – down 0.3 percentage points from last year’s report to 21.0%.

This year’s CAF World Giving Index is the sixth annual version of the report published by the Charities Aid Foundation, an international charity which promotes giving. 

The unique study of global charitable behaviour is based on surveys in 145 countries carried out by Gallup. It looks at three measures of giving: the percentage of people who have given to charity, volunteered their time or helped a stranger in the last month.

Key findings show that:

  • Myanmar, which shared first place with the USA last year, tops this year’s index. Its strong culture of Theravada Buddhism continue to drive high levels of giving, with 92% having donated money and 50% volunteering time - more than anywhere else in the world. However the achievement will be contrasted with the continuing plight of the Rohingya people within the country.
  • Some of the world’s most generous countries are among the most deprived. The G-20, which represents the world’s largest economies, accounts for only five of the world’s 20 most generous countries. 15 G-20 countries are outside the top 50, with 6 of these outside the top 100.
  • There has been a recovery in young people’s generosity. Last year we saw a decrease in those under 30 giving time, money or helping a stranger. This year we saw a recovery on each of these and this has gone some way towards reducing the generation gap which typically sees much more giving among older people.
  • Men and now more likely to give money than women. This is the first time since reporting began that this has happened. Women in developed countries are still more likely to donate, although the gap in giving between the genders has narrowed to the smallest recorded in the last five years.
  • Areas of adversity have seen some of the biggest increases in giving. The proportion of people donating money in Ukraine more than quadrupled in 2014 compared to the previous year. This has coincided with fundraising efforts for people affected by the conflict which ran from spring 2014. Notable increases in Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina reflect fundraising efforts following the extensive flooding throughout southern Europe in May 2014.

CAF Chief Executive John Low said:

“The world is becoming a more generous place. It is heartening to see that, even during these times of economic uncertainty across the world, people are increasingly likely to donate money to causes that help others. It is also hugely encouraging for the future that so much of the increase in giving has been driven by the younger generation.

“The CAF World Giving Index continually confounds any attempts to define what it is that makes a country generous. Some might expect to see the culture of giving being greatest among the wealthiest nations but, as this year’s report shows, the reality can often be quite the opposite.

“One factor which holds true is that, in almost any place in the world, people will rally around in a crisis. It is humbling to see how countries which have suffered adversity continue to score highly, with increasing numbers of people giving in some instances.

“With the profound and transformative growth being seen by some of the world’s economies we now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a truly global culture of giving among those enjoying decent incomes for the first time."

Overall, the top 10 most generous countries are:

  1. Myanmar
  2. United States of America
  3. New Zealand
  4. Canada
  5. Australia
  6. United Kingdom
  7. Netherlands
  8. Sri Lanka
  9. Ireland
  10. Malaysia

Burundi was ranked bottom of the 145 countries in the Index with China, Yemen and Lithuania just above them.

View the full World Giving Index 2015 and heatmap and download our infographic and bubble map

Notes to Editors

Methodology

The World Giving Index is primarily based upon data from Gallup’s World View World Poll, which is an ongoing research project carried out in more than 140 countries in 2014 that together represent around 96% of the world’s population (around 5.1 billion people).  The survey asks questions on many different aspects of life today including giving behaviour. 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 some large countries such as China and Russia samples of at least 2,000 are collected, while in a small number of countries, the poll covers 500 to 1,000 people but still features a representative sample.

The survey is not conducted in a limited number of instances including where the safety of interviewing staff is threatened, scarcely populated islands in some countries, and areas that interviewers can reach only by foot, animal or small boat. In all, over 150,000 people were interviewed by Gallup in 2014 and samples are probability-based. Surveys are carried out by telephone or face-to-face depending on the country’s telephone coverage.

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