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Did last year bring the largest drop in charitable giving in history?

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Donation drop

America is feeling less charitable, or perhaps just less able to act on their charitable intentions.

That's the takeaway from the latest data from Giving USA, which revealed the largest drop in charitable giving for at least 40 years — as total donations fell by $59bn last year (adjusted for inflation). Indeed, if you don't adjust for inflation this is only the 4th time since the early 1980s that charitable giving hasn't grown year-on-year.

America still donated $499bn last year, the vast majority (64%) of which — some $319bn — came from individual donors. That works out to $1,200 of giving per American adult. High inflation and a rising cost of living, along with a drop in the value of assets such as stocks, likely hindered America's ability to give, with the net worth of many US households dropping last year. A similar fall was seen in 2008 and 2009, when households pulled back on giving significantly.

Overall, the biggest beneficiaries of American generosity were religious charities, which accounted for $144bn, double the $72bn given to human services.

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