Skip to main content

People are less likely to give regularly to charity once they hit their peak earning years, according to new research conducted on our behalf*. Half of people aged between 45 and 54 say they don’t make monthly donations, making them 11 percentage points less likely to give to charity than 35-44-year olds.

Although the Office for National Statistics** says that people are likely to be at their earning peak at between 45 and 54, there’s a clear drop in regular monthly charity giving for the same period, which improves slightly as people hit 55.

44% of people aged 55 admit to making no regular donations to charity. This puts them 1 percentage point above the national average, suggesting attitudes to charity soften again as retirement approaches. The group most likely to make regular donations are 25 to 34 year olds.

Age Groups Most Likely to Give Nothing to Charity

45-54 50%
18-24 45%
55+ 44%
35-44 39%
25-34 36%

Other Priorities?

Could concerns about retirement and family pressures be contributing to this apparent reluctance to give money to charity?

Ian Williams, spokesperson for thinkmoney, believes so: “While 45-54 year olds may statistically be in their peak earning years, many are also juggling other financial commitments. Children heading off to university can be a big drain on the family finances, as can having adult children living at home, a challenge faced by the parents of 3.3 million young adults ****. Despite their earning potential, this age group have a number of pressing financial responsibilities. Unfortunately charitable giving is sometimes one of the first things to be cut in a round of belt-tightening.”

Attitudes to Charity Across the UK

Charity giving varies by region as well as by age. Residents of the East Midlands, Wales, East Anglia and Yorkshire & the Humber are most likely to give nothing to charity, while residents of London, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the West Midlands were least likely to snub good causes. Londoners were also the most likely to give more than £100 per month to charity (4.4%), followed by Northern Ireland residents (2.2%).

By Region - Most Likely to make no Regular Donations

East Midlands 53% Don't Make Regular Donations
Wales 53%
East Anglia 52%
Yorkshire & the Humber 51%
South West 46%
North West 46%
North East 45%
South East 43%
West Midlands 41%
Scotland 38%
Northern Ireland 36%
London 31% Don't Make Regular Donations

*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 6th June and 16th June 2014, of whom 500 were Scottish residents.

**ONS figures --

*** Average age of mothers in the UK is 28.9, meaning they are 48 when their first child turns 18.


Legal Information