When Americans dig into their pockets to support a cause, religion is still their top choice, but other categories are gaining ground, Giving USA reports.
Charitable giving to religion reached an all-time high in 2014, accounting for nearly a third of all donations. Religious groups received nearly $115 billion, more than double the total of education, the second biggest category.
However, giving to secular causes grew at a much faster pace. Contributions to religion rose 0.9 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars, the smallest increase of the nine categories in the report. In comparison, donations to arts, culture, and humanities jumped 7.4 percent from the previous year, and giving to environmental and animal causes grew 5.3 percent. Giving was up in all categories except international affairs, which fell 3.6 percent.
“We would be remiss to gloss over what is happening with giving to religion,” David H. King, president of Atlanta-based consulting firm Alexander Haas and chair of the Giving Institute, said in a press release.
“The fact is, this category is continuing its 30-year dramatic downward slide as a share of total giving. In fact, it has dropped from 53 percent of all donations in 1987 to 32 percent of the total in 2014.”