U.S. is more charitable than Canada: report

Canadians donated half as much as Americans in 2008, says study


Charities would receive an extra $8 billion a year if Canadian taxpayers donated as much as their American neighbours, according to a new report from the Fraser Institute. It found that Americans give about 1.38 per cent of their income to charities, while Canadians donate only half that, about 0.73 per cent. Manitoba is the most generous province, with its residents giving an average of 0.94 per cent of their incomes, while residents of Utah, the most generous American state, gave away a full 3.2 per cent of their annual wealth.

CBC News

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U.S. is more charitable than Canada: report

  1. Uh-oh! This won't sit well with the self-righteous who arrogantly believe Canadians are morally superior to Americans. Let the attacks on the Fraser Institute begin:

  2. This was reported on the CBC website too and there are hundreds of posts by indignant Canadians challanging the accuracy of the report. How dare America be better than Canada at something !!!!!

    • it seems that americans donate more because they believe in less government involvement so they may feel they are more morally responsible to contribute…canadians believe it is more the governments job

      • yes. Canadians have outsourced their compassion to the Federal Government years ago.

        Hey, its what "defines us" as Canadians, right ?

    • that's ok. americans are catching up to us really fast when it comes to socialism

    • I know, right? They must be stopped!

  3. Is the states paying about 60% of their income in TAXES??? Maybe then we could AFFORD to shell out a few more bucks to charity!!!

    • I agree. I think a lot of our charities ask for government contributions.
      Does anyone have any facts on this matter? I think the stat might be a little provocative, but that is nothing new.
      I wonder how much charites receive in relations to our GDP from all funding – donations and grants, and then to see what the difference between US and Canada would be on that scale.
      Can anyone think of a better scale?

  4. If they changed the tax system in Canada I'm sure Canadians would give more.Currently Americans receive 100% write offs for charitable donations while Ccnadians receive 17%

    • I think you may be filling out your forms wrong.

      • Yeah, he's got it backwards.

  5. Americans cant write off their charitable donations. They are a deduction from gross income. You will have to come up with another excuse for Canadians being grinches.

    • Doesn't that amount to essentially the same thing? If your gross income is lowered, you don't pay taxes on the amount it was reduced by. And if you've already paid, then you're eligible for a refund. Correct? Or am I missing something?

      • Charitable donations in the US are a deduction from income. By "write off" I thought the poster was saying charitable donations are a tax credit, which they are not.

        • Right. So "come up with another excuse" still makes no sense.

  6. It would be interesting to know where most of those charitable donations go. We have more comprehensive social assistance programs in Canada; are their charitable donations going to cover the gap between their programs and what our tax dollars look after here?

    • i wonder why the salvation army has to give so much to canadians from canadians in every province in the country if our social programs are so good.

    • our health care and pension programs are quite good …however the unemployment insurance program helps you to live in poverty while you look for a job while the welfare system puts you in abject poverty

  7. Following up on my LDS comment above, I wonder: to what extent does rate of "regular attendance at, and-or self-identified 'membership' of, a place of worship" help predict the variation in charitable giving?

    We can talk tax laws till we're blue in the face (come to think of it, around here, we often do). But I would appreciate any info on the link between religious practices and generosity. I suspect there is a non-negligible link.

    (Yeah, yeah, "paying a priest to lie to you about some mythical superbeing shouldn't be called charity," but can we set this aside for a moment to agree that those who do believe are generally more generous than those who do not?)

    • Does giving gifts to your relatives at Christmas make you more generous? Or is it simply that not giving gifts is not considered acceptable behavior? So too with religious giving. I know for the LDS, tithing is a requirement, although it's not strongly enforced.

      • (rolling eyes) Edit for Thwim:

        can we set this aside for a moment to agree that those who do believe generally give more to charity than those who do not?

        • Again, that pulls us back into your last sentence. Is it really charity?

          When I pay dues to a club, say the Rotary Club or something, so that they can maintain the buildings and employ the staff that provide me with whatever benefit it is I get from going to the club, is that charity? Now what happens if the Rotary Club also happens to go out and do charitable things, which they do? Does that make it a charity?

          Now, the only difference between say, the Rotary Club, and a religious organization is that the dues usually aren't mandatory (although there may well be a strong social pressure to provide). Does the voluntary nature of the dues suddenly make it into a charity?

          I argue that it doesn't, which would make donating to a church you attend not really a form of charity at all.

          Unfortunately, I haven't seen the statistics that measure how much of people's "charitable" giving, is actually donating to their own churches.

          • OK, you're STILL getting too existential over the meaning of generosity and charity. I myself am (obviously failing miserably at) trying to nail down the "registered giving to officially recognized charitable organizations, notwithstanding any one individual's thought on just how charitable such a registered organization may or may not be," and the apparent (obvious to me, anyways) link between a greater sum of money "given" among those who worship regularly and-or identify selves as members of a religious group. Really, that was all.

          • No, I understand what you're getting at, but what I'm getting at is that if the "giving" includes the religious organization they attend, such a stat tells you nothing. It could be the non-religious "give" more to their local rotary club or scouts organization, or hockey club, or whatever else it is that gives them some measure of fulfillment like the religious people give to their church.

          • yeah dude, he's wondering if the tithing counts as the charitable donation (it may very well). How much of the difference can be explained by more people believing "the head of my religion says I must give 10% of my earnings to the church, or I am failing in my religious beleifs?"

          • I can only speak for those churches I have attended, but the money that goes into the collection plate is only one form of giving. In my current parish, we regularly collect donations (food, toiletries, etc) for a downtown soup kitchen. We raised funds through social events to dig a well for a village in Africa. A group of grandmothers fundraises to support African grandmothers raising granchildren who lost their parents to AIDS. We support families at Christmas with hampers of gifts and food for Christmas dinner. We raise money for a variety of other charities, including a shelter for street kids. And I know I've probably missed a few of our outreach programs.

            Additionally, I and most people I know from church also contribute to the secular charities. So giving by churchgoers is more than just salaries and support for the "bricks and mortar", Thwim.

          • Unfortunately, the leader of your faith maintains that those Africans should not use protection to prevent HIV contraction as every sperm is a gift from God.

          • The leader of the RC denomination does not speak for all Christians. I'm not RC. Protection to prevent HIV (or pregnancy) is not an issue for Anglicans.

          • … continuing…

            But is the difference between Canadian and US church attendance sufficient to account for the difference? According to this web site (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/rel_chu_att-religion-church-attendance) there is only a 6% difference in attendance. So even if MYL's theory about churchgoers generally being more giving is true, it likely only accounts for part of the difference.

          • there is only a 6% difference in attendance.

            I would have guessed a much greater difference, rightly or wrongly, perhaps wrongly.

          • I would have, too; the stats surprised me. They certainly make more noise about their church-going and religiosity.

    • and it's not lying if they believe it

    • There is no paid clergy in the LDS faith, so the money goes directly to charitable programs and upkeep of the churches.

  8. The Fraser Institute is a registered charity, folks.

  9. I suspect that once America's first third world president's economic and social policies come home to roost – those charitable donations will drop drastically.

    • you can bank on that.

    • Are you calling Obama a 'third world president' because he's black? I really hope not because that would be horribly racist and offensive.. to everyone.

    • Is it THAT hard to stay on topic?

  10. Dear Canadians – Why not even the tally by doing something charitable. Like, invade Arizona and make us a colony? We are suffering because the Washington DC government hates us and sues us all the time. We aren't even allowed to verify citizenship when we register new voters.

    And, as is the nature of charitable giving, you will receive more than you give. Picture yourself relaxing poolside while enjoying a complimentary fresh fruit drinks in the warm desert sun. Or, imagine your delight when you discover you can simply walk on to a golf course and start golfing without a tee time. And, the simple pleasure of a free massage from a former federal worker you select.

    See an open letter to the Queen regarding colonization at http://www.disunderstand.com . Thank you in advance for attacking the State of Arizona.

    • LOL well see, there's the problem….writing to 'Diana'.

  11. The U.S. is more charitable than Canada? That doesn't surprise me one bit. I find that Americans are the most friendly and most generous people on the planet. I'm a Canadian, but if I could be from another country, I'd be from the USA. They're always there to help you out. Two thumbs up for the US of A!

    On an unrelated note, if there are any Americans reading this board… can I have 50 bucks?

  12. Ah, the sanctimonious socialist Canuckistani. How this must pain them. Gotta be because us poor Canuckistanis are paying so much more in taxes. Wrongo, oh lefties. Add up what the average American pays in taxes AND health costs and the difference shrinks quite significantly. Face it, most are a bunch of cheap, tight-assed holier-than thou types…Merry Christmas.

    • 'most are a bunch of cheap, tight-assed holier-than thou types'

      …while the rest go to bed cursing Pierre Trudeau every night, wishing they had been born south of the 49th parallel.

  13. Research on charitable giving by states show a strong correlation between conservative attitudes and donations. http://townhall.com/columnists/JohnStossel/2006/1

    Regarding the question of religious donations being charity, donations to museums, universities, opera houses and concert halls also count as charities, so the idea of charitable donations just taking care of the poor is open to questions. For example, this paragraph from a 2007 article by Robert Reich:

    This year's charitable donations are expected to total more than $200 billion, a record. But a big portion of this impressive sum — especially from the wealthy, who have the most to donate — is going to culture palaces: to the operas, art museums, symphonies and theaters where the wealthy spend much of their leisure time. It's also being donated to the universities they attended and expect their children to attend, perhaps with the added inducement of knowing that these schools often practice a kind of affirmative action for "legacies."

  14. It should be noted that, in Canada, a contribution to a political party gets you a bigger tax deduction than a contribution to a charity does.

    And also, that people on low incomes who don't need the tax deduction likely don't report their contributions. I know I don't because my income is already very low and reporting contributions makes no difference at all.

    I don't know if we are truly less generous than the Americans and wonder if there are other studies that confirm this?

    I know that lots of Canadians volunteer their time to charities, if they don't have any money to spare and wonder if that enters the equation anywhere?

    • "And also, that people on low incomes who don't need the tax deduction likely don't report their contributions. I know I don't because my income is already very low and reporting contributions makes no difference at all."

      The same thing applies in the US.

      Next excuse for Canada's stinginess please.

      • I have one- I don't report anything I give to charity because then it doesn't feel like charity anymore.

        Drat. Goes for America too…

  15. I agree 100% with "gottabesaid"…he has hit the nail on the head.

    I am a proud Canadian, but can easily admit that Americans, in general, are more generous than Canadians, and I find them to be friendlier too. However, I do need to qualify this as almost all of my US acquaintances are from midwest US states (otherwise known as flyover country) well away from either coast.

  16. I don't know… I'm from Wisconsin, drove the AlCan nine times (that's odd; I must have stayed in AK!). The Canadians I met between Portal and Whitehorse were the friendliest bunch of folks I ever met. Transmission blew up late one night driving over the hill into Saskatoon. The garage fellow there took us right in, offered us (brother and me) a place to stay, ordered transmission parts and did the whole job over a weekend. Then he charged us less than $200 and made a $20 error in our favor (which I made up for in my thank you note). I fell in love with waitresses one after the another from one end of the road to the other. We prayed for road construction so we could chat up the cute flaggers, every one, "So where you from, eh?". Very nice bunch. If your cigars hadn't cost so much, I would have stayed.

  17. What are the rates if Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are not included?

  18. The sheer amount of 'charity deduction cheating' which goes on means that CONTRARY to what the study shows the ACTUAL amount donated is most likely Canada being the best. They have shown the charity deductions are being cheated and SINCE the United States has MORE people by a long shot would mean they have that many MORE people CLAIMING but MANY MORE people CHEATING. So I would STILL say Canada probably donates MORE 'real money' . Manitoba therefore being the most HONEST of all Canadians.

  19. So many of these comments just go to show that you should never, ever, challenge a Canadian's self-image, no matter how delusional or factually-challenged it might be. We're more polite, we're funnier, we're smarter, we're about equality, everybody loves us, etc. I can only imagine what's being said on the CBC thread. Good grief, people – we need to get over ourselves.

  20. Tough to compare two countries with statistics. You can make stats prove anything you want. 99.5% of Canadians donate money and don't tell anyone. Personal study I did. I am correct 99 times out of 100 in 87% of cases. Just ask me.