News and analysis
November 09, 2015

Charitable Giving Up Worldwide, Down in the U.S., Survey States

Title: World Giving Index 2015: A Global View of Giving Trends

Organization: Charities Aid Foundation

Summary: Charitable giving increased worldwide in 2014 but fell in the United States, according to the sixth edition of a survey conducted by Gallup in more than 140 countries.

Better than 31 percent of respondents globally said they had made a charitable donation in the previous month, up more than three percentage points from 2013. In the United States, meanwhile, the proportion of people reporting a donation dropped to 63 percent, from 68 percent. Gallup’s margin of error varies by country and question, but is generally plus or minus 3 percent.

The survey provides data for the foundation’s annual World Giving Index, which is designed to measure overall generosity in each country based on three forms of charitable behavior. In the survey, individuals indicate whether they have donated money, volunteered, or helped a stranger in the past month.

Despite its 12th place rank in giving, the United States retained the index’s designation as the most generous country in the developed world, with relatively high marks in helping strangers (third place) and volunteerism (sixth place).

Worldwide, the United States stood second overall behind Myanmar, where, the report says, the traditions of the overwhelmingly predominant Theravada branch of Buddhism lead to high rates of giving and volunteerism. More than 92 percent of Myanmar survey respondents reported donating money.

Other findings:

  • The five countries following Myanmar and the United States on the 2015 index are: New Zealand, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. Burundi ranked at the bottom of the index.
  • For the first time in the index’s history, men were more likely than women to give money.
  • Only five of the G-20 countries are in the index’s top 20.

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