Boomer Women Much More Charitable Than Male Counterparts

Study finds wealthy older women 1.5 times more inclined to give than affluent men

A new study has found that women born during and before the Baby Boom gave more to charity than their male counterparts.

Moreover, when income, education and other factors that influence charitable giving are equal, they are likelier to give than men, according to Women Give 2012, issued last week by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

The study found that at all income levels, and regardless of the share of their permanent income they give, women born in 1964 and earlier donate 89% more to charity than their male counterparts.

Among those in the top quarter of permanent income, women give 156% more (better than 1.5 times more) than similarly situated men.

A statement accompanying the release of the study said it was among the first to examine the combined effects of age and gender on charitable giving. Researchers using data from 2003 to 2007 controlled for financial resources over the individual’s lifetime and adjusted for life expectancy.

“Boomer women are transforming philanthropy through innovative new charitable organizations and new ways to engage in charitable activity,” Debra Mesch, director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, said in the statement. “Understanding their giving habits provides insights into the future of philanthropy and helps women understand the context for their own personal giving.”

A previous study from the center covering all age groups found that women across the age spectrum generally give more and are more likely to give than men in the same income bracket.

Mesch said the center’s previous research had found that women tend to be more altruistic than men and that their giving frequently is motivated by the desire to make a difference in peoples’ lives.

“Additionally, women’s strong networks may keep them more connected to both the needs of others and to opportunities to give,” she said.

The Women Give series studies only households headed by single women and single men to explain gender differences in giving. Because married couples tend to pool income and make joint decisions about giving to charity, studying married couples does not allow for testing of gender differences in giving, the institute said.

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