Latest global giving data from CAF points to downward trend in some wealthier countries

15 Oct 2019 News

The UK is the seventh most giving country in the world, but there has been a downward trend among some of the world's richest countries, according to data published today by the Charities Aid Foundation’s (CAF). 

CAF's World Giving Index, published today, examines data across a ten-year period (2009-2018). It found that the United States has been the most generous country over the past decade.

Seven of the top ten nations are among the world's wealthiest nations. The others were Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

The study used a survey which asked if people had helped a stranger, given money or volunteered for a good cause over the past month. 

The report lists the biggest risers over the course of the ten-year study and those countries that have dropped the most during that time. It also lists the top ten aggregate scores over the ten-year period.

The most generous countries, with the percentage of people who had committed a generous act, are as follows:

  1. United States of America - 58 per cent 
  2. Myanmar - 58 per cent 
  3. New Zealand - 57 per cent 
  4. Australia - 56 per cent 
  5. Ireland - 56 per cent 
  6. Canada - 55 per cent 
  7. United Kingdom - 54 per cent 
  8. Netherlands - 53 per cent 
  9. Sri Lanka - 51 per cent 
  10. Indonesia - 50 per cent

Downward trend in giving from world’s wealthiest

The study surveyed more than 1.3 million people. It found that there has been a recent downward trend in giving behaviour in some of the world’s wealthiest places.

This includes the UK, US, Canada, Ireland and the Netherlands. Levels of individual giving are now lower than they were in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

The UK’s giving peaked in 2011, 2013 and 2015, echoing the trend in other large economies. 

‘Key moments of hope in parts of the world that have overcome true hardship’

John Low, chief executive of CAF, said: “We are once again reminded of the kindness and generosity of people across the world as they dig deep despite uncertain times and significant geo-political unrest to give their time and money to help others.

“In taking a step back and looking at giving trends over ten years, we have created what we hope will serve as a roadmap to continue to grow giving in all its forms across the globe. There are areas of concern, but also key moments of hope in parts of the world that have overcome true hardship.

“We know that there is no single solution to success. It is about hard work, shared values and knowing in ourselves the inherent benefit to all of us when we work to improve the lives of our friends and neighbours, and strangers who need our help.”
Worldwide, more than 2.5 billion people helped a stranger over the past decade, with African countries accounting for seven of the top 10 places where people are most likely to do so. Half of the countries that have risen the most in the World Giving Index are from Asia, with Indonesia at the top. Globally, nearly 20 per cent of all adults volunteer. Sri Lanka reported the highest rate of volunteering in the world.

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