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Alms length: are religious people more charitable?

The short answer is yes. Religious Australians (14+) donate an average 50% more to charity annually than do atheists or agnostics, the latest data from Roy Morgan Research shows.

The average Australian gave $288 to charity in the year to June 2014. Those who identify with a religion gave an average $331 each in the past year—over a $100 per person more than those who say they have no religion.

Among the religious, charitable giving surges by age 25-34 to an annual average of $333 per person, and continues to a peak of $409 among 35-49 year-olds before declining around $35/year at ages 50-64 and 65+.

The average amount given by the spiritually disinclined continues to increase with age, with those aged 65+ giving more on average than their religious contemporaries.

Average annual charity spend of religious and non-religious Australians by age group

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2013 June 2014, sample =16,809 Australians 14+

Overall, religious Australians say they donated $4 billion to charity within the past year, while reported donations from the non-religious totalled almost $1.6 billion.

1 in 4 religious Australians say they didn’t give anything to charity in the past year, compared with 1 in 3 non-religious Australians.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“A comparison of the dollars donated does indeed suggest that religious people are more charitable than others. Across all age groups, Australians who cite a personal religion are more likely to have made a donation within the past year than those who say they have no religion. And, across all age groups except among the over 65s, religious donators also give more on average than non-religious donators.   

“As the number of Australians with no religious affiliation continues to rise, all charities—whether religious or not—must find ways to inspire genuinely altruistic donations outside religious giving structures.” 

For comments or more information please contact:

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director
Office:   +61 (3) 9224 5172
Mobile: +61 402 014 474

Related research findings

View our extensive range of Charity Donor Profiles, including Australians who have donated to charity in the last 12 months, Large Charity Donor profile, Small Charity Donor profile and more. These profiles provide a broad understanding of the target audience, in terms of demographics, attitudes, activities and media usage in Australia.

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate



25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%