'More people donating to charity'
Data gathered by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed an additional 1.1 million people donated money to charity in the year to February 2011, taking the total to around 29.5 million.
The ONS surveyed more than 3,000 adults aged 16 and over on behalf of the Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.
Women aged 45 to 64 were the group most likely to give, while people aged 16 to 24 were the least likely.
John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: "It's really encouraging that despite sharp rises in the cost of living, more people are supporting charities.
"The economic downturn means many more people are turning to them for help, and charities themselves are struggling against rising costs, so every pound is really needed. I hope this trend will continue."
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: "This research is a timely reminder that even in straitened times, the British public are prepared to dig deep and show goodwill towards those most in need.
"However, these figures also highlight that charities will have to work extra hard to attract donors and keep pace with inflation at a time of economic challenges and increased demand for their services."
The most popular charitable cause to support is medical research, which more than 11 million people - 38% of the giving population - donate to on a monthly basis. A quarter (25%) of those who give to charity donate to hospitals, while 24% support children's charities.
© 2011 Press Association