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Along with jobs and 401(k)s, a major casualty of the Great Recession has been charitable giving. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, America's charities report an 11% drop in contributions in the past year alone. There's one big exception: Charitable contributions to religious groups dropped by only 0.1% from 2007 to 2009. Americans are generous people. In 2006, as detailed in our recent book, "American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us," 80% of all Americans reported having made a charitable contribution in the previous year. But some—the religious—contributed more than others. Of the most secular fifth of Americans, two-thirds said they gave money to charity in the previous year. That's an impressive number, but it pales next to the 94% of the most religious fifth who reported making a charitable donation.


Campbell, David E., and Robert D. Putnam. "Charity's Religious Edge." Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2010.