Global Poverty

Albertan Views: Perceptions of Global Poverty

Global poverty is a huge and complex issue. Garnering the support of the general public is a challenge in light of the myriad of social issues present on a daily basis. Thus, the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation (ACGC), in partnership with the Wild Rose Foundation and Angus Reid Strategies conducted a province-wide and Canada-wide survey in January 2009 which examined the public perceptions of global poverty and the role that Albertans (and Canadians) play in addressing this important issue. This survey would provide Albertans, including the Council and its members, with baseline information regarding Albertan perceptions of global poverty and the role that we all play in its eradication. This innovative study was the first of its kind carried out in Alberta.

ACGC was interested in learning:

  • How important Albertans think global poverty is, compared to other social issues.
  • How much Albertans knew about global poverty and the agencies and programs involved in addressing this issue.
  • What Albertans perceived as effective programs for dealing with global poverty.
  • What Albertans thought about their role, the role of government and the role of the international community in addressing global poverty

Provincial Results (Alberta sample, 801 respondents, complete survey)

  • Global Poverty is a salient issue, ranking in the top 5 from a global perspective. Further, 88% of Albertans believe poverty is increasing both at home and abroad.
  • Nearly half of all Albertans feel personally affected by Global Poverty due to reasons of personal connection with their fellow man; While Albertans see the benefits of addressing Global Poverty to Canada’s global reputation and political stability, the majority of those that feel affected by global poverty identify compassionate and humanitarian reasons. Most Albertans indicate feeling a sense of personal responsibility to do something about Global Poverty.
  • Nearly half of all Albertans (40%) would personally like to play a role in addressing Global Poverty.
  • Albertans are very knowledgeable about Global Poverty, answering very specific questions about Global Poverty based on Millennium Development Goal definitions accurately, on average, 70% of the time.
  • Albertans are very generous in terms of providing support to organizations two-in-three Albertans indicate they have donated in the past 12 months
  • Albertans rank 3 of the top 10 social issues affecting our province as poverty related: lack of affordable housing, poverty in our own province, homelessness. 74% of Albertans feel poverty is growing in the province, 79% believe it’s growing in Canada and globally.
  • The majority of Albertans (71%) believe global poverty should be addressed at a Provincial level, but 56% of those believe local poverty must be addressed first.
  • Global Poverty is not getting its share of attention in the media; While poverty is ranked in the top 5 global issues, Albertans feel it is only in the media frequently 25% of the time vs Terrorism, for example, at 71%.

National Results (Omnibus sample, 1,000 Canadian respondents, 5 questions)

  • Global Poverty is a salient issue, 89% of Canadians believe Canada should address global poverty, with 60% placing importance of addressing local poverty as first priority.
  • Canadians have empathy for the growing issue of poverty, and want to get involved: Nearly half of all Canadians (48%) would personally like to play a role in addressing global poverty, the most common reason being one of feeling a sense of responsibility.
  • Canadians are generous with their time and money; 80% of those surveyed said that volunteering time was an appealing way to get involved, and 79% indicated donating funds directly.
  • Three in five Canadians believe Global Poverty should be addressed by their province, with 45% placing importance of addressing local poverty as a first priority