On December 3rd Charities Aid Foundation published the 2013 World Giving Index. It has revealed that the United States has regained its title as the most generous society on earth.
The World Giving Index uses data from the Gallup World Poll to establish the proportion of people in 135 countries that have given money to charity, volunteered and helped a stranger in the past month. The USA took the top spot from Australia with strong results across all three categories placing thirteenth, third and first respectively. After a double dip in giving in 2009 and 2011 – mirroring the global trend – the USA has recorded its highest ever level for both helping a stranger (77%) and volunteering time (45%) and has seen a notable rise in people donating money, up from 57 to 62%.
Globally, giving has recovered in all categories of giving with the incidence of donating money rising by 1.3%, volunteering rising by 1.4% and helping a stranger improving by 2.4%. A recovery in economic confidence may be driving this positive global trend but levels of giving, much like economic growth, have yet to reach the highs seen before the 2008 recession.
Another notable global trend is the sharp increase in the proportion of 15-24 year-olds participating in volunteering which has risen from 18.4% in the 2012 report to 20.6% this year. Though CAF has a good understanding of what motivates wealthy young philanthropists globally and young people generally in their giving in the UK, we do not yet have an explanation for this encouraging trend.
One of the most striking results in the 2013 World Giving Index is the continuing rise of India as a global powerhouse of charitable giving. More Indians donate money to charity in a typical month than anywhere else in the world. In last years report this number had been reported as 163 million, in the 2013 World Giving Index it stands at 244 million.
The continuing rise of giving in India is matched and exceeded in a number of other emerging economies. Over the same period the proportion of people giving money to charity grew by 23% in Uruguay 22% in Cambodia, 20% in Indonesia, 15% in Paraguay, 14% in Uganda and 9% in Kenya. In outlining the concept for its Future World Giving project CAF has calculated that if the expanding global middle class grows to give to the same extent as people the UK (0.4% of income), giving could rise to $224 billion (£146 billion) a year by 2030. So the fact that many emerging economies are seeing rapid growth in the proportion of people engaging in charitable activity is very encouraging.
This years report also reveals that women have become more likely than men to donate money to charity at a global level, though men are more likely to have helped a stranger. The trend for more women to give money to charity may relate to increasing access to education and employment for women globally but causation is very difficult to prove. It should also be noted that the gender balance in giving looks very different in many nations.
We will be looking at specific aspects of the 2013 World Giving Index in this blog over the coming months and I welcome your comments, questions and feedback.