Study Finds Gender Differences in Giving Across Racial Groups

Study Finds Gender Differences in Giving Across Racial Groups

Gender differences in charitable giving patterns appear consistent across racial/ethnic groups, a report from the Women's Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy finds.

Based on data from the Philanthropy Panel Study and the U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, the report, Women Give 2019: Gender and Giving Across Communities of Color (44 pages, PDF), found that for all racial/ethnic groups in the study — African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic/Latinx Americans, and white Americans — single women were more likely than single men, and married and cohabiting couples were more likely than either single men or single women, to give to charity. The gap between single men and single women was largest among Asian Americans (26.3 percent vs. 56.5 percent) and smallest among Hispanic/Latinx Americans (25.4 percent vs. 28.7 percent).

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the study also found that while a majority of high-net-worth households across all racial/ethnic groups gave to charity, wealthy African Americans were more likely to give (91.6 percent) than were wealthy Asian (84 percent), Hispanic/Latinx (87.7 percent), or white (89.8 percent) Americans. When factors that affect giving, including income, wealth, education, and household size, were taken into consideration, there was no statistically significant relationship between race/ethnicity and giving as a percentage of income. According to the report, households across all racial/ethnicity groups gave to similar causes, with religious organizations and basic needs as the top two issue areas, among both general-population households and high-net-worth households. 

The study did find racial/ethnic differences in formal volunteering rates, with white (37.7 percent) and Asian Americans (37.4 percent) in the general population more likely to volunteer than were African-American (26.2 percent) and Hispanic/Latinx (25.2 percent). The report notes, however, that there are various reasons why people might volunteer informally instead of formally with a nonprofit organization. What's more, among the wealthy, Hispanic/Latinx individuals (60.2 percent) were more likely to volunteer than were white Americans (48.3 percent), African Americans (45.4 percent), or Asian Americans (38.9 percent).

"Women Give 2019 highlights the universality of giving," said Debra J. Mesch, the Eileen Lamb O'Gara Chair in Women's Philanthropy at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. "Women in communities of color may take different pathways to their philanthropy — learning from their families or religious traditions or starting to give later in life. But the act of giving their time, talent, and treasure is consistent for women across race and ethnicity."

"New Study Finds Generosity Links Women Across Race and Ethnicity." Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Press Release 03/19/2019. "Women Give 2019: Gender and Giving Across Communities of Color." Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Women's Philanthropy Institute Report 03/19/2019.