Charitable Contributions

Charitable Contributions

What does this measure?

Contributions to charitable organizations, measured as a percentage of income.

Why is this important?

Charitable giving supports a variety of organizations, including those that provide essential services to the community and people in need. The level of giving shows residents' willingness and capacity to invest in programs and organizations serving the community. Looking at the level of giving as a percentage of income provides insight as to residents' generosity and capacity for further giving.

How is our county performing?

In 2015, Berks County residents contributed about $180 million to charity, or 1.5% of their income. This rate was similar to Pennsylvania and slightly less than the nation, at 2.2%. Since 2011, Berks County's contributions as a percentage of income was up slightly from 1.4%, while the state and national rates were flat.

Among surrounding counties, Lehigh residents contributed a percentage of their income that was similar to Berks. Chester and Lebanon residents gave at a slightly higher rate at 2% for each, while the rates were even higher in Lancaster (2.6%) and Montgomery (2.3%). The charitable giving rate was lower in Schuylkill, at 0.8% of income.

Notes about the data

Figures are in constant 2016 dollars. These figures reflect contributions listed on tax returns with itemized deductions, which researchers estimate cover about 80% of all charitable giving nationally. High-income taxpayers are much more likely to file tax returns with itemized deductions than those with lower incomes. No county or state data are available on charitable contributions by taxpayers who take the standard deduction.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Charitable Contributions
United States2.1%2.1%2.1%2.1%2.2%
Berks County1.4%1.5%1.6%1.7%1.5%
Berks County Regions
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County1.9%2.0%2.0%1.9%2.0%
Lancaster County2.6%2.6%2.6%2.6%2.6%
Lebanon County1.9%1.9%1.9%1.9%2.0%
Lehigh County1.5%1.6%1.5%1.6%1.5%
Montgomery County2.4%2.5%2.4%2.5%2.3%
Schuylkill County0.9%0.9%0.8%0.8%0.8%

Source: Internal Revenue Service

Total Charitable Giving
United States$185,180,199,077$201,047,724,745$198,897,474,921$209,275,297,724$219,973,585,321
Berks County$166,583,353$175,135,469$172,984,265$200,231,915$180,369,032
Berks County Regions
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County$471,550,659$538,107,456$500,775,862$523,978,178$560,058,188
Lancaster County$359,565,033$383,471,379$374,935,406$398,154,354$425,446,196
Lebanon County$63,769,548$65,051,332$66,651,841$67,998,739$73,233,339
Lehigh County$156,882,307$163,560,264$159,306,492$167,496,775$163,368,237
Montgomery County$938,270,000$1,083,041,074$943,944,563$1,063,895,587$1,056,167,706
Schuylkill County$27,787,544$29,527,068$26,395,341$26,654,265$26,644,942

Source: Internal Revenue Service
Notes: Figures are in constant 2016 dollars.

Early Prenatal Care Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Change in Population by Age and Gender Not Applicable
Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Population by Age and Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Increasing
Change in Labor Force Increasing
Employment to Population Ratio Decreasing
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Sector Share of Total Jobs Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
People Entering/Leaving Region for Work Not Applicable
Public Assistance Increasing
Local Government Spending Increasing
County Government Spending Decreasing
School District Spending Increasing
Quality Early Childhood Centers Increasing
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
English Language Learners Increasing
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Per Student Spending Increasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 3 Math Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 English Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math Not Applicable
Student Performance on High School Reading Increasing
Student Performance on High School Math Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Plans of High School Graduates Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Brain Drain/Gain Increasing
Median Household Income Decreasing
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Living Wage by Household Type Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
Working Poor Maintaining
People Receiving Federal Food Assistance Increasing
Health Status Decreasing
Managed Medicaid Enrollment Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Physically Inactive Adults Maintaining
Adults Who Are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Children Who Are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Youth Who Are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Vacant Housing Units Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Decreasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Housing Affordability for Renters Increasing
Housing Affordability for Renters by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Age of Housing Stock Not Applicable
Single-Family Home Sales Maintaining
Median Single-Family Home Sale Price Increasing
Tourism Spending Decreasing
Voter Registration Rate Increasing
Voter Participation Rate Increasing
Average Charitable Giving Increasing
Charitable Contributions as a Percentage of Income Increasing
Households With Internet Access Increasing
Dams Not Applicable
Violent Crimes Decreasing
Property Crimes Decreasing
Incarceration Rates Decreasing
Drug Abuse Offenses Increasing
Drug Abuse Arrests Increasing
Protection from Domestic Abuse Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing
Crashes Involving Alcohol Decreasing