Wealthy Households Donated Less to Charity Last Year Than in 2020

Last year, rich Americans found it just a bit harder to part with their money.

In 2022, fewer wealthy households donated to charity, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. That’s according to a new report from Bank of America, which found that 85 percent of affluent people in the United States gave charitably, down from 88 percent in 2020.

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“The economic uncertainty of 2022 brought forth pause and reflection in some charitable giving activities,” Bank of America said in the report.

Along with the overall drop in giving, the average dollar amount donated by wealthy households fell a steep 19 percent from 2020, the report noted. That could partially be due to the aforementioned economic factors, such as rising interest rates and the S&P 500 dropping a similar 19 percent last year. In response, households may have pulled back on their spending in many areas, including donations. Additionally, 2020 was a massive year for charitable giving. The pandemic and racial reckonings across the U.S. spurred people of all income levels to donate, possibly pushing averages up that year.

For its most recent report, Bank of American teamed up with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. The two entities surveyed wealthy individuals with a net worth of $1 million or more, or an annual household income of $200,000 or more. Among those who participated, more than 50 percent gave to charities that support basic needs, while 39 percent donated to religious and spiritual services.

Despite the overall drop-off when compared with 2020, the 2022 numbers did reflect increased giving when compared with other years: The average donation, for example, was up more than $5,600 from 2017, Bloomberg noted. Because of that, it’s hard to draw final conclusions on the state of giving among wealthy Americans.

“In many ways, including charitable giving activity, 2022 represented a break from the prior two years, though it is still unclear if things are returning to their pre-pandemic trends or if we are on a new path,” Bank of America wrote in its report.

Given that the company only holds its survey every two years, we may not know what the trend really is for a while.

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