NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Generous Majority

February 25, 1999

Americans donate significantly more money to charity than they did a generation ago.

  • Adjusted for inflation, the average donation per adult was about $525 in 1996.
  • That is 50 percent more than the inflation-adjusted average in 1970 and roughly triple the 1950 average.

Volunteer work has increased along with the increase in money contributions.

  • The ranks of adults involved in charity or social services such as helping the poor roughly doubled from 26 percent in 1977 to 54 percent in 1995.
  • In 1998, 74 percent of college freshmen had done volunteer work the previous year, the highest figure since researchers started tracking it in 1984.

Source: David Whitman, "More Moral," New Republic, February 22, 1999.


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