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Americans are far more generous than Canadians


Manitoba continues reign as most generous province but Americans are far more generous than Canadians

VANCOUVER, B.C.-Manitoba is Canada's most generous province for the 10th year in a row, but Americans continue to be far more generous than Canadians, according to an annual report on generosity released today by the Fraser Institute, one of Canada's leading economic think tanks.

This year's report, Generosity in Canada and the United States: The 2009 Generosity Index, shows Manitoba has the highest percentage of tax filers among all provinces donating to registered charities (27.3 per cent) and highest percentage of aggregate income donated at 1.02 per cent.

"Manitoba has consistently topped the rest of Canada in terms of charitable giving, both in the number of tax filers who donate and the share of aggregate income donated," said Niels Veldhuis, Fraser Institute director of fiscal studies and co-author of the report.

Saskatchewan and Ontario are the second and third most generous provinces, respectively. In both provinces 25.7 per cent of tax filers claimed a charitable donation but Saskatchewan edged out Ontario in terms of the percentage of total income donated to registered charities (0.86 per cent versus 0.84 per cent).

Quebec ranks last among Canadian provinces in terms of generosity with 21.9 per cent of tax filers claiming charitable donations and donating only 0.33 per cent of aggregate income.

Compared to Americans, Canadians are far less generous.

"There's a commonly held notion that Canadians are more generous than Americans, but this is clearly not true," Veldhuis said.

At the national level, the U.S. surpasses Canada with 26.6 per cent of U.S. tax filers donating to charity compared to 24.0 per cent of Canadian tax filers.

Further, Americans gave 1.60 per cent of their aggregate personal income to charity, more than double the 0.73 per cent that Canadians donated to charity.

"In Canada, this generosity gap limits the power and potential of charities to improve the quality of life across the country," Veldhuis said.

Generosity in Canada and the United States: The 2009 Generosity Index measures and compares monetary generosity in Canada's 10 provinces and three territories and in the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. using readily available data on the extent and depth of charitable donations as recorded on personal income tax returns.

Of the 64 North American jurisdictions measured, Utah is ranked number one for generosity, with 33.7 per cent of tax filers claiming charitable donations and donating 3.66 per cent of aggregate income. Maryland is second and Washington, D.C. is third.

By comparison, Manitoba, Canada's highest ranked jurisdiction, ranks 33rd overall. Saskatchewan, the second highest ranked Canadian province, is 42nd overall. Canadian provinces and territories occupy 10 of the bottom 20 spots.

"These rankings highlight the significant disparity in charitable donations between the two countries," Veldhuis said.

"If Canadians had opened their pocketbooks to the same degree as Americans, Canadian charities would have received an extra $10.1 billion in revenue."

According to the report, most Canadian provinces show a decrease in the proportion of tax filers making charitable donations but a higher percentage of aggregate income donated over the past decade. In Manitoba, the share of aggregate income donated to charity increased by 31.5 per cent between 1997 and 2007, which was the greatest increase among all Canadian jurisdictions. Conversely, the proportion of Manitoban tax filers actually donating to charity fell 7.7 per cent over the period.

Saskatchewan has the biggest decrease in tax filers claiming donations, falling 10.3 per cent, followed by Prince Edward Island, dropping 9.1 per cent, and New Brunswick, dropping 8.1 per cent. Only three jurisdictions show a rise in the percentage of donors: Newfoundland & Labrador, increasing 4.0 per cent; B.C., increasing 1.6 per cent; and the Yukon, increasing 0.5 per cent.  MEDIA CONTACTS

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The Fraser Institute is an independent non-partisan research and educational organization based in Canada.

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