Two in Three (66%) Americans Agree that the United States has an Obligation to Help Poor Children in Other Nations around the World

Majority (62%) of Americans claim they have donated to an International Relief Organization that Helps the World’s Children

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New York, NY – The cry of the poor around the world is being heard by a majority of Americans, as two in three (66%) Americans agree (26% strongly/40% somewhat) that the United States has an obligation to help poor children in other nations around the world, according to a new Ipsos Public Affairs poll conducted on behalf of Child Fund International. Just one in three (33%) disagree (14% strongly/19% somewhat) that the United States doesn’t bear any responsibility to help poor children in developing nations.

The data also revealed that many Americans are individually doing their part, with a majority (62%) indicating that they’ve personally contributed to an international relief organization that helps the world’s poor children. Fewer than four in ten (37%) have not.

Americans on average believe that nearly one half (47%) of the world’s children live in poverty. Perhaps as a result, one in three (31%) believe that the highest priority for charitable giving is helping the world’s poor children, the same proportion that believes the highest priority should be helping underserved families here in the United States. Others believe that wiping out infectious disease like Tuberculosis and AIDS (16%), contributing to reducing global warming (10%), health care funding (2%) or some other worthy cause (9%) should be the highest priority for charitable giving.

Focusing on children and what might cause a young child under the age of five to die, two in three (66%) Americans believe the single biggest cause of death among the world’s children is malnutrition, while fewer believe it to be HIV/AIDS (11%), Diarrhea (7%), Pneumonia (6%), Malaria (5%), or Tuberculosis (3%), while 3% don’t know.

But there is less agreement on who is most responsible for helping children around the world who live in poverty. Three in ten (29%) believe this responsibly lies mostly with international nonprofit organizations, while one quarter (25%) thinks that the governments where these individuals live should be most responsible for helping the world’s poor children. Two in ten (19%) believe that developed countries – such as the United States – should be most responsible for helping these children, while fewer believe the onus falls mainly on faith-based organizations (16%), or wealthy individuals around the world (7%). Just 2% of Americans believe that nobody should be helping these individuals and they should help themselves, while 3% don’t know who should be most responsible.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted December 10 to December 13, 2009. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1,002 randomly-selected working adults was interviewed by telephone via Ipsos’ U.S. Telephone Express omnibus. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire population of adults in the U.S. been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/gender composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Responsibility to Protect…

The data revealed that two in three (66%) Americans agree that the United States has an obligation to help poor children in other nations around the world, and those without children are just as likely as those with children to think so. But some are more likely to think this than others:

  • African Americans (80%) are by far the most likely to believe that the United States has this responsibility.
  • Women (70%) are more likely than men (62%) to agree with this statement.
  • Those in the Midwest (71%) and West (69%) are slightly more likely than Americans living in the South (64%) and Northeast (62%) to agree.

Altruistic Americans…

A majority (62%) of Americans have personally given money to an international relief organization that helps the world’s poor children. But the data show some striking differences in propensity to have done so:

  • Those with a university degree (73%) are much more likely than those with some college (63%) or no college (56%) to have donated in this manner.
  • Married (67%) Americans are more likely than those not married (56%) to have donated to an international relief organization (56%).
  • Americans over the age of 55 are most likely (72%) to have donated when compared to those aged 35 to 54 (62%) or 18 to 34 (52%).
  • Those whose family earns in excess of $50,000 a year (67%) are most likely to have donated, followed by those who earn between $25K and $50K (60%) or less than $25K (56%).
  • Americans living in the West (67%) and Northeast (67%) are most likely to have donated, while those living in the Midwest (63%) and South (56%) are less likely.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
Sean Simpson
Research Manager
Ipsos Public Affairs
(416) 572-4474
sean.simpson@ipsos.com

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Two in Three (66%) Americans Agree that the United States has an Obligation to Help Poor Children in Other Nations around the World

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