Studies in the social sciences, especially in sociology and economics, have revealed an interesting pattern in the giving habits of different income groups. The chief finding is that the poor give greater fractions of their incomes to charitable causes than their richer counterparts. It also appears that the poor, the working-classes, and the middle-class give out of empathy and compassion for the less fortunate and privileged, and tend to give more often to direct-aid efforts, while the rich are more likely to give to the colleges they went to, to the arts, and to education generally. These findings are startlingly consistent across the world, and are reflected in the donation patterns of givers in the developing world as well.
There is a simple explanation for why the poor give oftener than the rich, and for why their giving is driven usually by impulse. They are closer than the wealthy are to human problems – hunger, the violation of spaces and bodies, and limited opportunities to acquire education. With the rich, a social insulation serves as an invisible wall between social problems and themselves. Therefore, the rich are able to plan for giving, have annual budgets for giving back to their communities, and to allow themselves time to premeditate where and to what cause they will give. Read More