Chris Uggen's Blog: June 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

income and charitable giving

via sarah w., philanthropy news digest, and mcclatchy:

according to 2007 data from the bureau of labor statistics, the poorest one-fifth of American households contributed an average of 4.3 percent of their income to charitable organizations, relative to about 2.1 percent of income for the richest fifth. i only have the aggregated quintile data, so i can't do much more than the graphic below.

the negative association (r = -.66) between income and giving suggests that the rich do less than they could or should. that said, there's a strong positive correlation between income and absolute (if not relative) giving. based on the data above, the poorest fifth gave $453 on average in 2007, relative to $3,337 from the top quintile. if the rich had been giving at the rate of the poor, they would more than double their charitable contributions -- from $3,337 to about $6,832 per year.