How altruistic are Australians?

Most Australians continue to offer help to others in need

Mateship is a strong motif within Australian culture. We have a reputation for ‘being there’ for one another and lending a helping hand, yet our world is growing increasingly individualistic. So, we ask, do we still help one another?

In advertising, ‘you’, the customer, is the most important person in the world. But the research shows that amongst Australians, and especially amongst church attenders, altruism and a focus on others lives on.

In 2022, around 8 in ten Australians (83%) said that they had informally helped others in the previous year (2022 ACS).  Among church attenders, around 9 in ten said they had informally helped others in the past year (2021 NCLS). 

Around half of all Australians (51%) had donated money to charity, which was the most common action. This was followed by visiting someone in hospital (34%) and helping someone through a personal crisis, not sickness (31%).

When the proportion of informal actions among Australians is compared with church attenders, it is evident that churchgoers are more likely to engage in altruistic acts.   Two exceptions were visiting someone in hospital and  those who had 'tried to stop someone abusing alcohol or drugs’, where the results are similar.


Table: Acts of informal helping: all Australians and church attenders

Informal helping

All Australians
(2022 ACS)

Church attenders
(2021/22 NCLS)

Lent or gave money to someone outside your family



Cared for someone who was very sick



Helped someone through a personal crisis (not sickness)



Visited someone in hospital



Given some of your possessions to someone in need



Tried to stop someone abusing alcohol or drugs



Donated money to a charitable organisation



Contacted a parliamentarian/councillor on a public issue



None of the above



Sources: 2022 Australian Community Survey, by NCLS Research (n=3,090) and 2021/22 National Church Life Survey, Attender Survey (n=105,368)


Our willingness to help is alive and well

These results show that a vast majority of Australians are involved in helping others in some way.  

Church attenders are even more likely to offer help to others, indicating that people of faith and faith communities continue to make a considerable impact on the social welfare of Australia.

Overall, this is good news about how Australians are helping one another in ordinary and significant ways.

Data Sources:

2022 Australian Community Survey, by NCLS Research
2021/22 National Church Life Survey, by NCLS Research

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