More Stats on Church Giving and the Recession
"Holy Toll" shows Great Recession's effects on 11,000 congregations

More data about church giving last year in the United States has emerged since the release of the 2011 State of the Plate survey results.

The "Holy Toll," based on the 2010 Faith Communities Today research conducted with 11,000 congregations by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research's David A. Roozen, shows some interesting trends, according to this USA Today article:

  • More than half (57%) of U.S. congregations reported their income had declined due to the recession;
  • Larger congregations seem to be recovering more easily as endowments and investment income rebound, and more members who can help them grow their way out of deficits (the 2011 State of the Plate also saw larger churches fared better);
  • The recession hurt congregations across the spectrum, surprising researchers who "almost always find differences" between evangelical and mainline Protestant churches;
  • Nine percent of congregations said the recession had prompted layoffs or furloughs, and just over a quarter of congregations reported salary freezes or reductions;
  • Congregations had to ramp up outreach services due to the recession's toll on local communities. Nearly half of all congregations experienced an increase in requests for cash assistance, and nearly one in four received moderate to major increases in requests for emergency housing (the 2011 State of the Plate also observed increased efforts by churches to help those in need).

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