Study Finds Religious People Are More Likely to Give to Charity

Brittany M. Hughes | October 30, 2017
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Think most religious people are just white, conservative bigots who don’t give two rips about poor folks? You certainly wouldn’t be the only one, but you’d definitely be wrong.

It turns out people of faith are much more likely to donate to charity that non-religious people, according to a new study out from the University of Indiana’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

People who are religiously affiliated are more likely to make a charitable donation of any kind, whether to a religious congregation or to another type of charitable organization. Sixty-two percent of religious households give to charity of any kind, compared with 46 percent of households with no religious affiliation.

The Washington Times reports that not only do people of faith give more to charity than those who don’t have any religious affiliation, but that those who have higher levels of commitment to their faith end up giving even more than those who only attend church once every blue moon.

“People who attend religious services on a monthly basis are 11 times more likely to give to religious congregations, and they give an average of $1,737 more to religion per year than people who attend less than once a month,” the study notes.

The study noted that while religious people are more likely to give to their own charitable institutions, such as their own church’s ministry and partnership programs, that’s not where their commitment to giving ends. Even discounting giving to their own place of worship’s ministry, people of faith still give more to outside charitable groups than those who aren’t religious.

Religiously affiliated households give as much or more to other types of charities as non-religiously affiliated households do, the university notes.

The study fits with other data showing Christian charity groups outpace even the federal government when it comes to disaster relief. According to USA Today, about 80 percent of disaster relief in the wake of recent hurricanes came from faith-based groups.

When it comes to assistance for the poor, it appears that religious people spend a lot less time demanding someone provide it, and a lot more time putting their money where others’ mouth is.