How Charitable Are American Consumers?

Our Survey Finds College Grads Most Willing to Give

By Published on .

As the holidays approach, a spirit of giving may or may not move us to consider the less fortunate. American Demographics teamed up with e-Poll to find out just how charitable Americans plan to be this holiday season. Not surprisingly, money and time have the most influence on how philanthropic we are as a nation.

Out of the 1,204 randomly selected participants, 42 percent plan to donate to a charity, such as The Salvation Army or the American Red Cross, and 8.3 percent plan to roll up their sleeves and work at a charity such as a soup kitchen or shelter. Roughly a quarter (25.4 percent) of respondents are not sure if they want to donate or volunteer, and 24.1 percent don't expect to donate or volunteer.

College grads top the list of those most willing to donate. More than half, of this cohort, 55.7 percent, plans to donate to a charity this holiday season, compared with 35.8 percent of those with some college education or less. Education levels parallel income levels when it comes to donating â€" the more one has, the more one donates. A little more than half of respondents who earn more than $50,000 a year (50.1 percent) plan to donate, compared with 28.3 percent of those who earn less than $25,000. Incidentally, of those earning between $25,000 and $49,000, 40.2 percent hope to donate this holiday season.

When comparing gender, the numbers are fairly close. Women eclipse men as the more generous sex, as 45 percent of them hope to donate, compared with 39.3 percent of men. A larger difference exists among those who don't plan to donate, with 28.6 percent of men saying “no,� compared with 18.9 percent of women. Men and women remain similarly uncommitted to the idea of working at a charity, with only 8.2 percent of men and 8.4 percent of women saying they expect to volunteer during the holidays.

However, respondents most interested in volunteer work are those under 18 years old, with 16.8 percent hoping to do so this holiday season. That percentage drops with age, with 13.1 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds hoping to volunteer down to 2.5 percent of 50- to 54-year-olds, but increases to 7 percent for those 55 and older.

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