According to a household survey, an average of 47% of respondents in OECD countries reported to have donated money to an organisation during the previous month; 24% volunteered their time. More than 70% of respondents in the Netherlands and the UK had contributed to their favorite causes within the month before the survey was taken. While the percentage of donors was slightly lower in the US, nearly 42% of Americans had given some of their time to volunteering-nearly double the OECD average. For reasons cultural or economic, Chinese respondents recorded the lowest levels of giving, in both time and money, far below the OECD countries surveyed.
But money seems to be the least of it. Giving and receiving support, whether it's a shoulder to lean on or extra helping hands, is shown to have a direct relationship to people's sense of wellbeing. An OECD average of 91% of respondents reported that they had someone they could count on; about half that percentage said they had helped a stranger during the past month. Pulling together might be the best strategy to avoid depression during a recession.
OECD Factbook 2009: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics is available at www.oecd.org/bookshop
©OECD Observer No. 272, April 2009