Americans earning $50,000 to $100,000 a year give two to six times more of their investment assets to charity than those who make more than $10 million, a new report from the San Francisco-based NewTithing Group finds.
According to The Demographics of Charitable Giving, the first-ever Internal Revenue Service-based analysis of giving by assets, age, number of dependents, tax-filer status, and gender, the least generous of all working-age Americans in 2003 were young and prosperous — taxpayers age 35 and under who made more than $10 million and those making $500,000 to $1 million. On average, both groups made charitable gifts equal to 0.4 percent of their assets, while people the same age who made $50,000 to $100,000 gave gifts equal to more than 2.5 percent of their investment assets, or six times that of their wealthier peers.
Among taxpayers 35 and younger, the report found, those earning less than $200,000 made gifts equal to 1.87 percent of their investment assets, a figure that fell to 0.5 percent for those who made between $200,000 and $10 million, and to 0.4 percent for those earning more than $10 million. Those making $500,000 to $100,000 made gifts equal to nearly 2 percent of their investment assets, compared with less than 1 percent for those making $200,000 to $10 million. However, those with income greater than $10 million, whose investments averaged $81 million, made gifts equal to 1.54 percent of their assets.
According to NewTithing Group, measuring charitable donations as a proportion of investment assets provides a meaningful gauge of generosity amongst the upper middle class and the affluent, whose investment assets generally exceed their income.
Johnston, David. “Study Shows the Superrich Are Not the Most Generous.” New York Times 12/19/05.
“Are Seniors More Charitable?.” NewTithing Group Press Release 12/19/05.
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