Tuesday, February 01, 2011

What Americans Give to Churches, Charities & Foreign Missions

Photo Credit: borman818
Here are some interesting statistics from Christianity Today regarding giving patterns of Americans as it pertains to charities, foreign missions and churches:
"Churches and other explicitly religious organizations are by far the largest recipients of Americans' charitable donations. But church members' giving is decreasing in the recession, especially as a percentage of income. The amount of church-based giving that goes to missions is also decreasing significantly. From 1916-1927, about 7.9% of church contributions went to foreign missions; today it's 2.1%. (From Empty Tomb, Inc.)

Total charitable giving in the U.S. (unadjusted for population or income) dropped by about 3.6% in 2009, though individual giving stayed steady from 2008. (From Giving USA)"

  • 1968 - The average percentage of income given to churches was 3.11%
  • 1985 - The average percentage of income given to churches was 2.59%
  • 2008 - The average percentage of income given to churches was 2.43%
Overseas Missions Giving
How much of each selected denomination's church dollar goes to international ministries? (From Empty Tomb, Inc.)
  • 11 cents - Christian Missionary & Alliance
  • 6 cents - Church of the Nazarene; General Association of General Baptists
  • 4 cents - Seventh Day Adventists - North America; The Wesleyan Church, The Presbyterian Church in America
  • 2 cents - Southern Baptist Convention; The United Methodist Church
  • 1 cent - Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod; Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Presbyterian Church (USA); The Episcopal Church
Beyond Church Giving
Americans gave 303.75 billion in 2009. Three quarters of it came from individuals. Here's where the money went (From The Chronicle of Philanthropy):
  • Religion (33%)
  • Education (13%)
  • Gifts to Grant Making Foundations (10%)
  • Unallocated Giving (10%)
  • Human Services (9%)
  • Public-Society Benefit (8%)
  • Health (7%)
  • Arts, Culture & Humanities (4%)
  • International Affairs (3%)
  • Environment/Animals (2%)
  • Foundation Grants to Individuals (1%)
As these numbers can attest, Americans give billions each year to their local churches, favorite charities and other worthy causes. However, the richer we have become as a nation, we've given a smaller percentage of our income to that which has eternal significance.  Perhaps an appropriate question to ask ourselves is not how much we give but how much do we keep?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I just read in Bloomberg that the Mormon church gives less that 1% to causes such as welfare and helping the less fortunate. The Methodist church on the other hand gives 29%. What is the scorecard on other churches?