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Study: Fewer Americans Are Giving to Charity (Possibly) Because of the Decline of Religion

Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Vanguard Charitable have released the findings of new research analysis that shows fewer Americans are giving to charity. In fact, the number of adults in America who gave to charity dipped significantly from 2000 (66%) to 2016 (53%). For context, that comes out to about 20 million fewer households giving to chartable causes. 

And, as MarketWatch notes, money and the economy aren’t the main reasons why. Instead, experts say that the decline in faith—not market trends—is making people less generous. 

Analysis from MarketWatch noticed a correlation between the lack of giving and the rise in the number of Americans “who describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or ‘nothing in particular.’”

As the study’s co-author Una Osili explained to the outlet, religion is generally tied to increase generosity. “Attending services is correlated with giving to religious organizations, but it’s also correlated with giving to secular groups,” he said. 

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The study also found that millennials give away less of their own incomes than the two previous generations. 

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