Canadians are good givers. Kind of.

Research | March 22, 2012

Good news. Canadians are a pretty charitable lot. Statistics Canada recently released findings from their Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, and nearly 24 million people, or 84% of Canadians over 15 donated to a charitable or non-profit organization.

Not such good news: While the number of Canadians who give is high, the average donation was $446 per donor. That may seem like a lot, but considering that the average household incomes range from $36,036 (PEI) to $63,544 (NWT), we’re really only giving away about 1% of the average income. That works out to about buck and a quarter a day. Is that so impressive in the end? (Household income source)

Donation highlights

  • Total amount donated in 2010 was $10.6 billion.
  • People in Newfoundland/Labrador and PEI give the most, with 92% and 91% respectively being donors.
  • Northwest Territories and Nunavut people give the least, both around 59%.
  • The people who gave more tended to:
    • Be older
    • Have a higher household income
    • Have formal education
    • Be religiously active
  • More people give in the Atlantic provinces, but donors in the West tend to give higher amounts.

Volunteer highlights

  • Far fewer people volunteer their time than give their money: 13.3 million or 47% of the population.
  • Still, that amounts to 2.1 billion hours, which is the equivalent of 1.1 million full-time jobs.
  • Volunteers for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics account for 0.7% of the total.
  • Of the people who volunteered the most hours, they tended to:
    • Be older
    • No longer be working
    • Not have any children at home
    • Be religiously active
  • However, there were higher rates of volunteering among younger people who had smaller children at home.
  • Nova Scotians spend the most time volunteering, with the average annual hours at 207.
  • Quebec’s volunteers are at the lowest end with 128 average hours per year.

Looking at the numbers, I say thank goodness for our older citizens and the more religious among us. I just wonder what will happen as we lose those older citizen-minded Canadians, and as fewer people are actively religious? Topics for a much bigger discussion, so let’s come back to that another time.

The Statistics Canada results are from 2010, with the previous survey being done in 2007.


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