Household Charitable Giving at the Intersection of Gender, Marital Status, and Religion

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© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017. Past research reveals mixed results regarding the relationship between gender and charitable giving. We show gender plays a significant role in giving but only when considered alongside marital status and religion. Using the 2006 Portraits of American Life Study, we model a household’s propensity to give and the amount given. We extend past research by disaggregating unmarried households to look at divorced, widowed, and never-married households, and by including multiple religion measures. Results indicate households headed by never-married females have lower giving levels compared with those headed by divorced and widowed women. In households headed by single males, these differences are largely absent. Religious attendance has a stronger association with giving in male-headed households. The respondent’s gender is also related to the amount married households report giving to charity. Future research on giving should consider both gender and marital status to more fully capture increasing diversity in American families.





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Eagle, D, LA Keister and JG Read (2018). Household Charitable Giving at the Intersection of Gender, Marital Status, and Religion. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 47(1). pp. 185–205. 10.1177/0899764017734650 Retrieved from

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David E Eagle

Assistant Research Professor of Global Health

I am an Assistant Research Professor the Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research and the Duke Global Health Institute. I am an expert on the health of religious clergy, the changing shape of churches in North American society, and the implications of these trends for the professional training of ministers.

More recently, my research has begun to branch out internationally. I am doing research on clergy in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and studying the mental health of sexual and gender minorities around the world.

Methodologically, I am skilled in the collection and analysis of survey data, including longitudinal and social network data.


Lisa A. Keister

Professor of Sociology

Lisa A. Keister is professor of sociology and public policy at Duke University and an affiliate of the Duke Network Analysis Center and the Duke Population Research Initiative. Her current research focuses on organization strategy, elite households, the processes that explain extremes in wealth and income inequality, and on group differences in the intergenerational transfer of assets. She has been focusing on the causes and consequences of net worth poverty recently with colleagues from the Sanford school and is currently completing two books: one on America’s wealthiest families, the one percent, and one on net worth poverty.


Jen'nan Read

Professor of Sociology

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