Ahead of Giving Tuesday, Data Reveals that Bible Readers are Among the Most Generous Americans
State of the Bible 2023 report reveals Scripture Engaged Americans continue to give the most to charity, with religious organizations receiving the biggest percentage
American Bible Society today released the eighth chapter of their 13th annual State of the Bible report, which highlights cultural trends in the U.S. regarding spirituality and Scripture engagement. Findings from today’s release include that more than two-thirds of American households donated to charity in the past year and that churchgoers and Bible readers were among the most generous across the board. The first eight chapters of State of the Bible 2023 are now available to download at StateoftheBible.org.
“It won’t come as a surprise that people who are invested in their Christian faith also give back. But what might surprise some is that people who attend church and engage in the truths of Scripture give a higher percentage of their income—and more money overall—to all charities, not just to faith-based organizations,” said John Farquhar Plake, PhD, American Bible Society’s Chief Ministry Officer. “Overall, Americans are generous. More than two thirds of us supported charities in some capacity in 2022! The question for ministry and NGO leaders is how to best channel that generosity for positive impact for the communities that need it most. This is important food for thought as we head into Giving Tuesday!”
State of the Bible findings come from a nationally representative survey performed for American Bible Society by NORC at the University of Chicago, using their AmeriSpeak panel. The data came from 2,761 online interviews with American adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Key findings analyzed in Chapter 8: Generosity
- More than two thirds of American households (68%) donated to charity in 2022! This shows a strong rebound from the previous year (62% in 2021), and it comes close to pre-COVID levels (page 157).
- Bible engagement is positively correlated with generosity. Americans who are Scripture Engaged* (92%) were significantly more likely to give than those in the Movable Middle (76%) or the Bible Disengaged (54%). On average, Scripture Engaged givers donated almost a third more dollars than those in the Movable Middle and more than twice as much as the Bible Disengaged (page 167).
- Religious organizations received the greatest portion of charitable giving in 2022. Religion was one of the few sectors that saw an increase in the total amount of charitable donations, with more gifts going to faith-based organizations including local churches, parishes, temples, and other nonprofits (page 158).
- Americans who go to church are more likely to be generous across the board. This is the second year in which we have seen that Americans who attend church, even infrequently, are far more likely to donate to charity—any charity—than those who do not (91% and 52%, respectively). Moreover, our data shows churched people giving 42% more than those who are unchurched (pages 164–165).
- Americans who make more money tend to give more money. About four in five (80%) of those in households annually earning $100,000 or more make charitable contributions. That exceeds every other income group. At the lowest levels of income (households earning $30,000 or less), only five of nine (55%) are donors (page 162).
- While Americans who make more money tend to give more money, the percentage of income donated by those who give runs much higher among lower income groups. American donors with an annual household income of less than $10,000 give at an estimated average percentage of 5.3% whereas American donors with an annual household income of more than $150,000 give at an estimated average percentage of 0.6%** (page 163).
- Thankfulness is connected to generosity. Of those who strongly agree with the statement, “I thank God daily for who he is and what he is doing in my life,” 85% donate to charity (page 171).
Next month, American Bible Society will release the final chapter in State of the Bible 2023, summarizing the core takeaways from this year’s research.
To download the first eight chapters of State of the Bible 2023, visit StateoftheBible.org.
*For descriptions on how Scripture engagement was measured and reported, please see page 173 of the ebook available for download at StateoftheBible.org.
**Please note that the study did not address giving through foundations, which may impact these percentages.
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