America prides itself on being a philanthropic nation. But a new study shows that Americans gave just 1.9 percent of their disposable income to charity last year.
The study, from the Giving USA Foundation , found that total charitable contributions from individuals, bequests and companies totaled $298.4 billion in 2011, up four percent from $286.91 billion in 2010.
Charitable giving is now seeing its slowest post-recession recovery since 1971, according to the study.
“America’s charities have been traveling down a very rocky road in recent years, as evidenced by the data in our annual estimates and reports from those working in the field,” said Jim Yunker, chair of Giving USA.
As always, individuals accounted for the largest share of charitable donations. In 2011, they accounted for 73 percent of giving. When bequests and family foundations are added, American households donated 88 percent of all charitable giving.
Americans are parting with a lower share of their incomes than they did during the good times. The 1.9 percent of disposable income shared in 2011 is down from 2.4 percent in 2005. (The study doesn’t break out the income or wealth levels of the givers, so it’s tough to know the comparable giving rates of the wealthy).Page 1 of 3 | Next Page