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Americans who donate, volunteer for charity at new low, survey shows

Americans who donate, volunteer for charity at new low, survey shows
Non-profit charity Samaritan's Purse operates a field hospital in New York City's Central Park on April 1 to treat an overflow of coronavirus patients. Gallup's survey Thursday said fewer Americans have given to such charities over the past year. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 14 (UPI) -- Americans are donating less to charity, and over the past year the number who contribute fell to a new record low, a survey showed Thursday.

Gallup said its poll found nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of U.S. adults said they donated to charity over the past year -- a decline from 83 percent in 2017. The previous low was 79 percent in 2009.

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Gallup said the poll also shows the number of Americans who volunteer is also in decline.

Fifty-eight percent said they have volunteered for charities in the past year, down from 64 percent in 2017. The new figure is the lowest since 2009 (55 percent).

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The survey also found about three in ten (29 percent) said they have given in some way over the last two months to help during the coronavirus emergency.

"The coronavirus pandemic is harming not only the physical and mental health of many Americans but also the finances of millions more," Gallup wrote. "High levels of unemployment are putting pressure on the federal and state governments to help those in need, as well as on charitable organizations."

The pollster said the decline may be connected to changes to the tax code under the Trump administration. More Americans are now claiming the standard tax deduction, it said, since the new laws no longer bring a direct tax benefit from charitable donations.

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Thursday's poll showed that most respondents, 66 percent, said they intend to give to charity over the next year. Of those, a quarter said they plan to increase their contributions and just 7 percent said they plan to give less over the next 12 months.

Gallup polled more than 1,000 U.S. adults for the survey, which has a margin of error of 4 points.

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