Americans donate more than any other people on Earth. Per capita, Americans donate seven times as much as the average European. The charitable sector of our economy is much greater than the size of our national defense, comprising 11 percent of our country’s workforce, and 6% of America’s gross domestic product. On top of this, there are between four and ten million full-time volunteer employees. In 2015, Americans gave over $300 billion to charity. Of this amount, 15% came from charitable foundations, 6% came from corporations, and 79% came from individual Americans.
Zinmeister writes that the giving nature of Americans has an incredible influence on our society. One area charitable giving has affected is the education of citizens. In 1880, Ohio had three million inhabitants and 37 colleges. England had 23 million inhabitants but only four colleges. One reason for this difference is that in England, the four colleges were public, built and run by the government of England. In Ohio, however, most of the colleges were private, founded by thousands of small, individual donations. Throughout America, hundreds of private universities were founded by thousands of individual donations.
It is amazing to ponder the amount of donations Americans give. The Gates Foundation donates more assistance overseas than the entire Italian government. Its work with helping children is believed to save 8 million kids in its first two decades. Americans in churches and synagogues send four and a half times as much the Gates Foundation does. And, private American philanthropic aid is more than the entire foreign aid budget of the U.S. government. Most American families who donate give in amounts less than $2,500 annually.
Mr. Zinmeister offers three reasons why Americans lead the world in giving. He notes that the U.S.A. is the most religious industrialized nation in the world. Zinmeister writes, “Religion motivates giving more than any other factor.” The second reason is that Americans believe in the idea of helping your neighbor. The third reason is entrepreneurialism. Americans are motivated to succeed by the idea of starting a company and providing a product or service that others need. Americans also like to support others to fulfill their dreams.
- Which people in the world give the most?
- What is one reason America has so many private universities compared to England?
- Who America gives 79% of the amount given to charities?
- How much more do Americans in churches and synagogues give than the Gates Foundation?
- What is one reason why Americans give, according to Mr. Zinmeister?