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The State of Church Giving through 2002



Chapter 4 Highlights



Eleven denominations reported data on a fairly consistent basis from 1921 through 2002.

•     Per member giving as a portion of income was above three percent from 1922-1933 and again from 1958-1962. However, unlike after 1933, when the country was experiencing the Great Depression followed by World War II, no major national catastrophes explain the drop below 3% after 1962, and the following decline.
 
•     Per member giving as a percent of income began to decline in 1961, and membership as a percent of U.S. population began to decline in 1962. While giving as a portion of income showed a slight upward trend beginning in 1993, the decline in membership as a percent of U.S. population continued uninterrupted through the year 2002.
 
•     Considered in five-year segments as inflation-adjusted dollars between 1950 and 2002, the highest average annual rate of growth in per member giving in inflation-adjusted dollars was from 1995-2000. However, when the increase in dollars given was considered as a portion of average annual income increase, the highest rate was in the 1950-1955 segment, followed by 1955-1960.
 
•     Considered in five-year segments between 1950 and 2002, the highest annual average increase in giving as a percent of Disposable Personal Income was in 1950-1955, followed by 1950-1955. The highest rate of decline was 1960-1964.
 
•     Considered in five-year segments between 1950 and 2002, the highest annual average increase in membership as a percent of U.S. population was 1950-1955, with the period of 1964-1970 posting the highest rate of decline.
 
•     Giving as a percentage of income was lower in 2002 than in 1921 or in 1933, the depth of the Great Depression.
 




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