Levels of charitable giving and volunteering have continued to decline slightly, according to the Government's latest citizenship survey, published yesterday.
The Communities and Local Government department's fifth citizenship survey, which covers the year ending March 2009, recorded a slight drop in the number of people in England who had given to charity in the month before they were interviewed.
The proportion fell from 78 per cent in 2005 to 76 per cent in 2007/08, and 74 per cent in 2008/09.
The survey of 10,000 people in England and Wales also recorded a small decline in the numbers of people in England who participated in formal volunteering at least once a month, falling from 29 per cent in 2005 to 27 per cent in 2007/08 and 26 per cent in 2008/09.
Formal volunteering is defined as giving unpaid help through groups, clubs or organisations to benefit other people or the environment.
The number of people in England who participated in informal volunteering at least once a month remained at 35 per cent, compared with 37 per cent in 2005.
Informal volunteering is defined as giving unpaid help to people who are not relatives.
The proportion of 16 to 25-year-olds volunteering also remained static. They were less likely than older people to participate in formal volunteering, but more likely to volunteer informally. They were also the least likely to have given to charity in the previous month.
The survey also found:
- Donors gave an average of £17.70 in the previous month, which is the same figure as in 2007/08, allowing for inflation;
- People who regularly volunteered were more likely to give to charity;
- Women were more likely to volunteer than men, with 28 per cent taking part in formal volunteering at least once a month, compared with 23 per cent of men;
- People with degrees were more likely to be formal volunteers;
- Formal volunteers spent an average of 12.6 hours volunteering in the previous month, up from 11 hours in 2007/08;
- Informal volunteers spent an average of 7.7 hours volunteering in the previous four weeks, the same figure as in 2007/08. The most common activity was "giving advice";
- 58 per cent of people cited work commitments as the reason for not formally volunteering.