The State of Church Giving through 1990

Ronsvalle, John L., and Sylvia Ronsvalle. The State of Church Giving through 1990. Champaign, IL: the empty tomb, inc., 1992.

This volume in "The State of Church Giving" series analyzes trends in Protestant churches in the United States, based mainly on 1990 data from the 1992 edition of the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. The Ronsvalles conclude that: For the set of denominations whose giving patterns were examined between 1968 and 1990, giving as a percentage of income reached a twenty-three year low in 1990; Total per member giving in constant 1982 dollars declined between 1989 and 1990 for the same set of denominations, the first decline in per capita total giving measured in constant dollars since 1975; Per member giving declined as a percentage of income once again in 1990, and giving for benevolences continued to decline at a faster rate than giving for local congregational expenses. Giving in five first-year recession years between 1968 and 1990 was reviewed, and the authors found no clear relationship between religious giving and national recessions. Also, religious giving patterns were compared with changes in social conditions (represented by an Index of Social Health developed at Fordham University). Both the Index and per member benevolence giving (as a percentage of income) declined between 1970 and 1989. (SM)