A greater proportion of Americans donate to charity than cast ballots, and the level of giving is going up while voting patterns stagnate, The Huffington Post writes, citing research on both modes of civic participation.
In 2012, 59.7 percent of Americans gave to a cause, according to the Philanthropy Panel Study by Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. In that year’s election, 53.6 percent of Americans voted, the Pew Research Center says. And while charitable giving continues to rise — it hit a record $373 billion last year, according to the latest "Giving USA" report — voting in presidential years has fluctuated within a 9-point range since the 1980s.
Patrick Rooney, associate dean for academic affairs and research at the Lilly School, said the figures may reflect the extent to which people feel they can affect change. “Giving is more direct, more tangible,” he said. “Voting is an important role in our democratic system, but there are lots of gaps between what any one politician promises and what he or she can deliver.”