The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

December 18, 2007 06:00 ET

The Fraser Institute: Manitoba Leads Canada in Charitable Donations but Canadian Generosity Pales Compared to Americans

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 18, 2007) - When it comes to donating money to registered charities, Manitobans are the most giving people in Canada. But compared to Americans, Canadians give much less to charities, according to a new report released today by independent research organization The Fraser Institute.

Generosity in Canada and the United States: The 2007 Generosity Index measures and compares monetary generosity in Canada's 10 provinces and three territories and in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia using readily available data about the extent and depth of charitable donations as recorded on personal income tax returns.

The index shows that among Canadians, Manitoba tax payers give the most to charity, with donations from 28.4 per cent of tax filers, about 1.11 percent of total income earned in that province. Ontario is second with 27.3 per cent of tax filers claiming a charitable donation amounting to 0.91 per cent of total income earned in that province.

Among provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador has the lowest percentage of tax filers donating to charity at 21.4 per cent while Quebeckers donate the least amount of aggregate income earned at just 0.33 per cent.

But when all 64 North American jurisdictions measured are compared, Manitoba ranks 43rd on the generosity index while Ontario is 47th. Canadian provinces and territories occupy 12 of the bottom 20 spots.

Utah is number one on the generosity index with 36.4 per cent of tax filers donating to charity, giving a total of 3.71 per cent of total state income. Maryland is second with 44.6 per cent of tax filers donating 2.22 per cent of state income.

Residents of Utah, the most generous American state, donate more than three times as much of their income (3.71 per cent) compared to Manitoba, Canada's most generous province (1.11 per cent). In fact, the only states less generous than Manitoba and Ontario are North Dakota and West Virginia. All other Canadian provinces and territories trail every U.S. state, giving less than 0.87 per cent of their total income to charity.

"Many Canadians continue to feed the myth that Canada is a more generous and giving society than that of the United States. But when it comes to reaching into our own pockets and giving our own money to charity, Americans are clearly more generous then Canadians," said Niels Veldhuis, The Fraser Institute's Director of Fiscal Studies.

In comparing Canada and the United States on a national basis, monetary generosity in the U.S. far surpasses that of Canada with 30.6 per cent of U.S tax filers donating to charity compared to 25.1 per cent of Canadian tax filers.

Americans gave 1.77 per cent of their aggregate personal income to charity, more than double the 0.75 per cent of the total personal income Canadians donated to charity in 2005 (the last year for which data was available).

Canada makes its poorest showing in terms of the average value of charitable donations in local currency. The average U.S. donation was $4,388 US, almost four times more than the average donation in Canada ($1,345 Cdn.). Top-ranked Wyoming recorded an average charitable donation of $10,066 US, more than five times the average in Alberta ($1,836 Cdn.), Canada's top-ranked province. Even in Rhode Island, the lowest ranked U.S. state, the average donation ($2,594 US) is nearly $750 more than the average donation in Alberta. These differences are more pronounced when currency differences are taken into account.

"The numbers continue to show a well established fact-- more Americans give to charity and as a whole, give a higher percentage of their aggregate personal income," Veldhuis said.

"If Canadians followed the Americans' lead and donated the same percentage of their income, Canadian charities would have received an extra $10.4 billion in revenue."

The Fraser Institute is an independent research and educational organization with offices in Calgary, Montreal, Tampa, Toronto, and Vancouver. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org.

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