World Giving Index

UPDATE: Thanks to poster ‘wonderingwordsmith’ for pointing out that I was using old data – there’s a 2011 World Giving Index now, and it shows that there can be some significant shifts in just a year. I’ll leave my original post as it was and I’ll add on discussion of the 2011 report to the end. The first part should be read too though.


Original post about 2010 data:

Continuing my posts on charity (see history of Asian charityfour modern Asian countries, and religiosity and charity), we’ll look at the ‘World Giving Index 2010’. It’s a global survey, in which they ask about three things: 1) Have you donated money to an organization? 2) Have you volunteered time? 3) Have you helped a stranger.

As you can see in the graph below, regions vary not just in amount of charitability, but also in the nature of the charity:

And here are the winners:

This survey seems somewhat contradictory to the previous one I listed, on the four Asian countries, because that study claimed charitable giving was just as prevalent in that region as European nations. This data would suggest that is not the case. Anglo-American states especially seem highly charitable, but Western and Southern European states also score more highly than other regions. However, the previous study data is not totally misleading perhaps, as south-east Asia did score quite highly in giving money (which is what the previous study looked at) – just below Europe. And, as in the previous study, South Asia did not look so good (although it still does better than central and  eastern Europe!).

And finally, the world broken down into countries:

GDP and ‘wellbeing’ scores are strongly correlated with giving money:

Plenty of other interesting data in the paper, should you feel so inclined.


New: World Giving Index 2011

For the full report, check out World Giving Index 2011 (pdf). Well, there’s been both change and consistency in a year. It should probably be a lesson in not trying to draw too fine conclusions with limited data. For example, my passing judgement on South Asian lack of charitability may have been premature.

It’s interesting how the variability shows up at different levels. At the global level, the percentage of people engaging in charitable behaviour only changed from 31.6% to 32.4%. When we look at regions, there is a certain consistency in the ranking, with most regions changing by only 4% or less, however, in just a year South Asia moved from being an apparently uncharitable region to being the fifth most charitable. Then on the country level we see quite a bit of change, some jumping up or down quite drastically – but overall there seems to be a pretty good correlation between even country charitability in 2010 and charitability in 2011.

Here are the regional rankings, as you can see only South Asia has changed significantly. (I’m interested in why South East Asia seems to do so well in all the studies I’ve seen – it’s certainly not a wealthy region).

Here’s the top 20 this year, shown against their rankings in 2010:

And compare the global map from 2011 to that from 2010 (above):

The authors tend to attribute much of the variation to changing global and local economic and environmental factors. For example, there was a worldwide decline in giving money, but a corresponding increase in time volunteered, and helping strangers – which the authors attribute to the global downturn. And the higher rates of charity for South Asia in the new study partially attributed to natural disasters. For some changes, possible explanations are unclear: for example Pakistan jumped in rank from 142 to 34, without an obvious cause (they offer as possibilities: natural disasters in neighbouring nations, reaction to internal tension, and changes in sampling methodology).

Once again, the Anglo-American countries are firmly at the top.

The authors note the general increase in charity in Asia in all regions (East, South, South-East, and Central), with an average increase of 5.75% (median & mode: 4%), while the average increase of all other regions combined was 0.25%

There’s plenty of stuff in these reports that I haven’t touched on at all, either, like the regional variation in what kind of charity is expressed…

4 thoughts on “World Giving Index

  1. Pingback: Charity in 4 modern Asian countries | unsafe harbour

  2. Pingback: Religiosity and charity | unsafe harbour

    • Thanks for that – I’ll update the post. They interpret a lot of the changes in terms of actual global and local economic or environmental conditions, I guess they are fairly confident these numbers reflect real conditions.

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