Despite the economic recession and the Sept. 11 attacks, more Americans made donations in 2001 than in 2000.

Four out of five adults, or 80 percent, gave charitable gifts in 2001, compared to 78 percent in 2000, 84 percent in 1999 and 87 percent in 1998, according to a Barna Research Group survey conducted in January.

The mean charitable gift size in 2001 was $1,097.

The category of donations included more than solely gifts to churches. It included all charitable gifts to non-profits.

Seventy percent of those surveyed said they contributed to churches in 2001.

Barna found that “the larger the church a person attended, the more likely they were to support it.”

Age was also a factor in giving. “The younger a person is, the less likely they are to donate any money at all, to donate to a church, and the less money they donate when they do give,” the Barna survey reported.

GenXers had a mean giving level to churches of less than $600. Baby Boomers had a mean church gift of $746, compared to Builders who gave $1,176.

“One out of every 12 adults (8 percent) had given away at least 10 percent of their income last year,” Barna said. “The proportion of tithers is higher among born again Christians (14 percent tithed) than among non-born again adults (5 percent).”

The survey also found that registered Republicans gave more on a per capita basis than Democrats and Independents; Protestants gave more than Catholics; and college graduates gave twice as much per capita as those with only a high school education.

“People with the strongest convictions are the most likely to support their worldview financially,” George Barna said.

He noted that Republicans, evangelical Christians, conservatives and members of large churches gave more than others.

To read the report, go to

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