Recession fails to stop Britain giving to charity, yet poor more generous than rich, Manchester uni study reveals

By Danielle Wainwright

The recession has failed to dampen Britain’s generous nature as more people are giving to charity than they did before the crisis, as study from the University of Manchester revealed today.  

Professor Yaojun Li, of the university’s Institute for Social Change, also discovered that the rich were less likely to give to those in need, with more people giving who live in poorer communities.  

The data was tested on more than 100,000 adults in England and Wales, over ten years to 2011 as the average amount people gave rose from £15 in 2007/08 to £16 in 2010/11.

The poorest 20% in society gave 3.2% of their gross monthly income to charity – which equates to around £6.35.

Meanwhile, the richest 20% gave a measly 0.9% of their gross monthly income – though this equates to £31.44 in absolute amounts.

However even though the rich give more away, less of them donate, while the number of poor giving to charity is larger.

The remaining 60% gave under 2%.

Professor Li said: “An inverse relationship is found between giving and income while people in higher income positions are found to give more in absolute terms in terms of pounds given, they are found to give less as a proportion of their or their family incomes.

“Given the voluntary and altruistic nature of charitable giving, how to get the economically well-off to ‘give their fair share’ – that is, to contribute relatively more –is a challenge, if our society is to be made big.”

Giving to charity as a proportion of income was highest among people of Pakistani or Bangladeshi ethnicity, who gave 5.3% of their monthly income during 2010/11 (or £27.33). This compared with just 1.7% among white British.

A huge 75% of Christians donated, compared with 63% of Muslims, 66% of atheists, and 56% of Hindus.

In terms of actual amounts, the figures for the religious groups were £17.53 for Christians, £10.06 for Hindus, £22.33 for Muslims, £8.94 for Sikhs, £15.69 for Jews, Buddhists and people of other religious affiliations, and £11.28 for atheists.

Professor Li said: “Muslims in general, and people of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origins in particular, are shown as giving the highest proportions of their incomes to charitable causes. People of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origins are usually found to be amongst the poorest communities in the country.”

Picture courtesy of Phoney Nickle, with thanks.

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