Estimating Individual Charitable Giving in the Metropolitan Washington Region

Research Report

Estimating Individual Charitable Giving in the Metropolitan Washington Region

Abstract

As immense individual wealth for some is generated by an extended bull market in this global high-tech economy and the unprecedented transfer of wealth from the so-called "baby boomers" begins, more attention is being focused on giving to charity. Over the next half century, the transfer of wealth in the United States is expected to range between $41 trillion and $136 trillion, with some researchers predicting that charities will realize an additional $6 trillion to $25 trillion in donations. Yet in spite of renewed interest in understanding philanthropic gifts, the primary sources of information on individual giving are very limited and give only an aggregate view at the national level. These data show that most households give about 2 percent of income, a proportion that has remained relatively constant for years despite economic ups and downs, changing government policies, and changing attitudes about charities and philanthropy.

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