Individual giving grows 6%

Americans who gave to charity and claimed it on their federal tax returns in 2000 gave $3,636 on average, up 6 percent from $3,441 in 1999, a new report says.

Driving the growth was an increase of more than $470 per return – to $3,391 – in the average gift by individuals in New England claiming charitable contributions, says the third-quarter 2002 Giving USA Update buy the AAFRC Trust for Philanthropy.

Giving by taxpayers in the Pacific states grew 10 percent, trailing only taxpayers in New England in their increase in giving.

Itemized deductions as a share of estimated income, a measure that compares charitable deductions to income based on six different income levels, significantly exceeded national averages in Utah and six Southern states – Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The report notes that, in addition to itemized contributions, charitable giving includes contributions by taxpayers who claim the standard deduction, as well as gifts that itemizers make but do not include in their tax returns.

Over the past five years, the report says, itemized charitable gifts grew 84 percent in New England, 76 percent in the Pacific region and 49 percent to 65 percent in other regions, with the region that includes Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky posting the slowest growth.

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