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"In the wake of the Great Recession, the richest Americans are donating less to charity, while the poorest are giving more, according to a new study.
In a report released today, the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that Americans who earned at least $200,000 gave nearly 5% less to charity in 2012 than in 2006.
Higher-income people tend to give proportionately less during tough economic times, says Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
“The downturn was a shock to so many of them, and they’ve been nervous and cautious,” she says.
The shift has likely meant less money flowing into universities, hospitals and cultural institutions, which the wealthy tend to patronize. Lower- and middle-income donors often give to social service organizations, Palmer says. In part because these groups have had fewer dollars to give, those organizations have still faced a squeeze.
Unlike their wealthier counterparts, low- and middle-income Americans — those who made less than $100,000 — gave 5% more in 2012 than in 2006, the Chronicle found. The poorest Americans — those who took home $25,000 or less — increased their giving by nearly 17%.
“Lower and middle-income people know people who lost their jobs or are homeless, and they worry that they themselves are a day away from losing their jobs. They’re very sensitive to the needs of other people and recognize that these years have been hard,” Palmer says.
Religiosity is another factor driving up giving among low- and middle-income Americans, she says.
Wealthier Americans still gave more in absolute terms, increasing their donations between 2006 and 2012 by $4.6 billion, adjusted for inflation, to $77.5 billion. In that period, the collective wealth of Americans on The Forbes 400 soared by $1.04 trillion.
Those who earned less than $100,000 gave $57.3 billion in 2012."To read the rest of this article please click here.