Solidarity in decline in Chile?

The Estudio Nacional de Voluntariado, 2008 (National Volunteering Study, 2008), carried out in Chile for the third year by the Fundación Trascender (Transcend Foundation) and Collect GfK, reveals that although more people believe solidarity is a national characteristic (up from 57 per cent in 2007 to 64 per cent in 2008), fewer Chileans see themselves as acting in solidarity with their fellow citizens (from 67 per cent in 2007 to 50 per cent in 2008) and the percentage of those who affirm that they do not see themselves in those terms rose from 8 per cent to 19 per cent.

The study, which was carried out in the largest cities in Chile where more than 60 per cent of the urban population lives, shows that although the number of people who donate has remained the same over the last few years, the average monthly amount has declined due to inflation. Similarly, although the percentage of those who volunteer has remained the same, the average number of hours dedicated to volunteering per month fell from 15.6 to 9.5.

Chileans see solidarity as a complex concept that includes donations, kindness to others and basic rules of behaviour. However, Chileans are critical about their methods of practising solidarity: 70 per cent believe that they exercise solidarity only ‘when faced with catastrophes reported by the media’ and 68 per cent believe that ‘only giving money is not a form of solidarity’.

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