The super-rich in Asia trail their peers in North America and Europe when it comes to parting with their money for a good cause, a survey by Wealth-X suggests. People in the region with a fortune of at least US$30 million donated a combined US$21.5 billion to philanthropic causes in 2020, representing 12 per cent of the global share from ultra high-net-worth individuals, according to the latest report from the US-based wealth data provider. The amount was significantly lower than the US$90.5 billion and US$52 billion donated by wealthy Northern Americans and Europeans, respectively, in the same period. The seemingly stingy figure cannot be excused by pure demographics; Asia has a larger ultra-wealthy population than Europe with a total purse that is 15 per cent bigger. However, average age may be a factor, as might the region’s underdeveloped charity sector. “Philanthropic giving by ultra wealthy Asians is notably lower, with the region accounting for a modest 12 per cent share of all global ultra wealthy donations in 2020,” Wealth- X said in the report. “Partly owing to cultural and regulatory factors, the scope of the not-for-profit sector is less developed, although is now expanding fairly rapidly. “Another feature is that the region’s wealthy population is substantially younger than in North America and Europe.” Previous analysis suggests that traditionally, philanthropic engagement has tended to increase with age, it added. The average age of ultra-wealthy donors in Asia was 60.3, younger than North America’s 68 and Europe’s 63.9. Education was the most favoured beneficiary of donations from the super-rich, getting between 47.3 per cent and 62 per cent of all donations in North America, Europe and Asia. “In Asia, particularly, philanthropy aimed at improving educational facilities, teaching standards and learning opportunities far outweighs all other potential charitable endeavours,” the report said. “Across North America, the largest gifts tend to go to higher education. This underscores the region’s long-standing alma mater tradition, which is now extending to more universities around the world as schooling becomes increasingly globalised.” Overall, the global ultra-wealthy class was estimated to have given a total of US$175 billion to philanthropic causes, an amount that is “approximately equivalent to all US federal government spending on education, employment and social welfare that year.” With an estimated 296,930 ultra high-net-worth individuals – just 1.1 per cent of the global millionaires population – the average donation by members of this elite club amounts to US$590, 000 per person. The total amount donated by the mega-rich grew 4.1 per cent on an annual basis, according to Wealth-X. This increase in generosity is likely to be slower than the rate at which their fortunes expand. In 2021, the wealth of the super-rich was estimated to have grown by 54 per cent from 2016 and almost doubles from a decade ago, Wealth-X said. Still, the increase in the donations of the ultra high-net-worth set outpaced that of their less well-off counterparts, as well as institutions and public foundations, according to the report.