Survey: 10 Million Tithers Donate More Than $50 Billion

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New study provides an inside look at big givers to religion.

There are an estimated 10 million tithers in America that donate more than $50 billion annually to religious and charitable causes. A new 5-year constituency study released by the State of the Plate gives an inside, in-depth look at the financial, giving, and spiritual practices of 4,413 people who donate 10% or more each year.

Survey participants came from all 50 states, all types of churches, and all income levels. The full report, “20 Truths about Tithers,” provides 27 pages of valuable information on this important group of givers for the media, pastors, church, and non-profit leaders.

While many who donate 10% or more may not consider themselves “tithers” because of its connection to Old Testament teaching, this practice has been observed by many devoted Christians for centuries and is still voluntarily practiced by millions today.

Notable State of the Plate findings:

  • 77% of those who “tithe” give 11%-20% or more of their income, far more than the baseline of 10%.
  • 97% make it a priority to give to their local church.
  • 70% “tithe” based on their gross income, not their net.
  • 63% started giving 10% or more between childhood and their twenties.
  • Tithers carry much less debt than most people and are financially better off than Christian non-tithers — 80% of “tithers” have no unpaid credit card bills; 74% have no car payments; 48% own their home; and 28% are completely debt-free.

What keeps non-tithing Christians from giving: 38% say they can’t afford it; 33% say they have too much debt; and 18% said their spouse does not agree about tithing.

Brian Kluth, founder and publisher of the annual State of the Plate research, says, “While the idea of tithing has been around for centuries, very little has ever been known about this group of significant givers. Now for the first time, our research provides an in-depth look at the most important group of givers to religion. Without their generous and faithful support, most churches and Christian non-profits would quickly cease to exist.”

The fifth annual State of the Plate constituency survey was led by Brian Kluth of Maximum Generosity and co-sponsored by Christianity Today, ECFA, and Evangelical Christian Credit Union. For the complete State of the Plate executive report, “20 Truths about Tithers,” go to StateofthePlate.info

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