9/11 Motivated Americans to Give When Disaster Strikes

Ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks ten years ago, Americans have tended to be unusually generous after disaster strikes, CNNMoney.com reports.

In the aftermath of 9/11, individual donors in the United States contributed a record-breaking $2.8 billion to help families of the victims of the worst acts of terrorism ever on American soil, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports. In the years since, Americans contributed $1.93 billion for relief and recovery efforts after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, $5.3 billion to help those displaced by Hurricane Katrina, $1.45 billion to assist survivors of the earthquake that killed more than 300,000 people and devastated parts of Haiti in 2010, and $247 million for relief and recovery efforts in Japan after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami and nuclear meltdown at the country's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex earlier this year. According to CNNMoney, the total in the latter case was much less than that for other disasters because the Japanese government made it clear it did not need financial assistance from outside donors.

But while Americans have been exceptionally generous in donating to other countries after a disaster, CNNMoney reports that they tend to give more for disasters at home. For example, approximately 66 percent of U.S. households donated to Katrina and 9/11 relief efforts, while only 30 percent gave to help victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami. "When we have the disasters right here in the U.S., there is an overwhelming response," said Dr. Una Osili, director of research at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. "The majority of...households give something to the victims or the survivors."

Aaron Smith. "How Sept. 11 Changed Charity in America." CNN/Money 09/06/2011.