New study shows poor give greater percent of income to charity

The less you have the more likely you are to give; that's what new research from the McClatchy group shows, backing up this long-held belief with hard data. According to the group's research, the poorest Americans give above their capacity, donating more in comparison than the most well off upper fifth of society. Not only does this group of low-income Americans give more of their income to charity, but double the percentage of income that the richest individuals in the study do.

This report confirms the opinion I formed during years of collecting canned goods as a Boy Scout. While walking through neighborhoods on chilly fall mornings, it was quite obvious that families who themselves would be considered in need by many, donated bags of canned goods bursting at the seams. While there were also some full bags in the more "well to do" areas of town, the generosity that flowed from low and lower-middle class homes was hard not to notice, even for a 13-year-old.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that poor people give a greater percentage of their income because they know someone or have personally been in a situation of need in the past. These smaller donors play an important role in charitable giving by supporting others through formal and informal donations, supporting causes and individuals in need that might otherwise go un-noticed.

While you won't see these donor's names etched in stone like their fellow givers who can afford to donate millions, the memories of thank you's and touched lives will continue to reward our most generous donors.

Want to give back today? Get in touch with a local charity or find a cause to support using CharityNavigator.

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