Giving to religious organizations declined to 52 percent of U.S. adults in 2017, according to a Gallup report published on Dec. 21.
This continues a 12-year trend. In 2005, a high of 64 percent of adults gave to religious charities, which declined to 59 percent by 2008, 55 percent by 2013 and 52 percent by 2017.
“The 12-point decline in religious charitable donations between 2005 and 2017 mirrors the 11-point decline in the percentage of Americans who say they are a member of a church or synagogue (64 percent in 2005 to 53 percent today),” Gallup noted.
By contrast, secular charitable organizations have experienced more stable giving patterns over the same period.
A high of 79 percent of U.S. adults donated to secular charities in 2001, dropping to 71 percent in 2003, rising to 76 percent in 2005 and then settling in at 75 percent since 2008.
Volunteering at religious charities has remained stable – rising from 41 percent in 2001 to a high of 46 percent in 2013 before declining to 44 percent in 2017.
Secular organizations have seen a 7-point increase, moving from 44 percent of U.S. adults volunteering in 2001 to 51 percent in 2017.
“Americans’ total involvement with religious and secular charities has been steady over the past decade, with more than eight in 10 consistently reporting since 2008 that they donate to a church or other charitable cause and nearly two in three saying they volunteer their time,” the report stated.
Women were more likely than men to donate money (by an 87 percent to 80 percent margin) and time (by a 69 percent to 60 percent margin) to charitable causes.
Persons 55 and older were most likely to donate money (89 percent did so in 2017) and those 35 to 54 were most likely to volunteer (72 percent did so).
Protestants and unspecified Christians were most likely to donate money (86 percent) and volunteer time (70 percent), compared to Catholics (81 percent and 61 percent, respectively) and “nones,” atheists and agnostics (82 percent and 51 percent, respectively).
The full report is available here.