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Charitable giving in Ireland 2020

Charitable giving as a proportion of household expenditure has been steadily declining over the last 30 years. Although the quantum given has increased, this is only because the number of households has nearly doubled from 1.2m to 2m.

  • Charitable giving as a proportion of household expenditure has been steadily declining over the last 30 years. The data show that in 1987, 79% of all households surveyed donated within the 2-week HBS survey window. By 2015, this had declined to 38% of households surveyed.

  • The average amount donated grew between 1987 and 2004 but has declined sharply since then.

  • The amounts donated grow proportionate to the level of total household income, but relative to their disposable income, the poorest are significantly more generous than the richest.

  • Older people and those with higher levels of education and disposable income are all more likely to donate

  • People living in rural locations, married people and women are both more likely to give, and also give considerably more.

Charitable giving in Ireland

This is the first Benefacts report on Charitable Giving in Ireland, using 30 years of high quality survey data derived from the Household Budget Survey (HBS) of the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The latest available data is from 2015. We plan to update this report when work on the 2020 survey (deferred because of the pandemic) resumes and the next HBS is published.

This report is a benchmark against which future trends in charitable giving can be measured. It also can be used to compare the profile of giving in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe, since surveys like the HBS are carried out at regular intervals across the EU.

Read more about the data, the methodologies used to produce this report, and the report’s authors.