Fraser Valley residents retain generosity crown

Residents living in B.C.’s agricultural core are again among the country’s most generous.

Residents living in B.C.’s agricultural core are again among the country’s most generous.

Last week, Statistics Canada released the latest charitable donation figures, and Abbotsford and Chilliwack are once more among the most generous cities in the country.

On average, people living in the Abbotsford-Mission metropolitan region gave $3,300 to charity in 2011, a 15% increase from the $2,870 donated in 2010.

Chilliwack residents gave a bit less on average in 2011 than in 2010, but still ranked as the second-most generous tax filers in B.C. with an average donation of $2,270.

Metro Vancouver residents came in third. On average, they donated $2,010, which was well above the provincial average donation to registered Canadian charities of $1,500.

But B.C.’s generosity seems to know no urban bounds. Residents in all corners of the province gave significantly, with Fort St. John being home to the fifth-most generous residents in the province followed by their counterparts in Salmon Arm, then Vernon.

Overall, B.C. tax filers have remained more generous than average for the past 15 years, giving roughly 25% more than the average Canadian. Only Albertans donated more. On average, they gave $2,300 in 2011, up from $2,250 in 2010.

Overall, Western Canadians and residents in Ontario have been the most generous over the years.

In general, donors appear willing to give more when times are good and cut back only in the worst of times. Donation growth has remained relatively steady and appeared to turn negative after the dot-com bust in 2001 and the financial crisis in 2008.

While total dollars given to charity are added up, however, the number of tax-filing donors edged down for most metropolitan regions in B.C.

Between 2008 and 2011, the number of tax filers claiming their donations has dropped across the province, which suggests people who continue to donate are, generally, giving more to the charitable sector.

However, because many donations can’t be claimed (see “Dissecting donor demographics” – BIV issue 1206; December 4-10, 2012), the figures likely underestimate the generosity of Canadians. •

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