Giving to Health

Giving to health includes cash and non-cash donations from itemizing and non-itemizing American households to U.S. health charities, including nonprofit community health centers, hospitals, and nursing homes; organizations focused on the treatment and/or cure of specific diseases; emergency medical services; wellness and health promotion; mental healthcare; health research; and other types of health organizations.

According to the baseline projection alone, giving to health would have increased in 2018 and 2019. The exceptional circumstances created by tax policy changes have complicated this picture. Click here for a more detailed analysis.

Specific factors that will significantly and positively influence health giving in 2018 and 2019 include:

  • Average to above-average growth in GDP,
  • Above-average growth in household and nonprofit net worth,
  • Growth in consumer expenditures on healthcare services (close-to-average) and nursery school to high school education (above average), and
  • Growth in consumer expenditures on education services in preceding years.73

These factors will account for the majority of the predicted growth in giving to health in these years.

The amount that consumers spend on out-of-pocket healthcare costs rises with age.74 The oldest age group (over 65) spends five times the average amount the youngest age group (under 25) spends on healthcare. Additionally, on average, more than 12% of older households’ annual household expenditures goes to healthcare. However, younger households with children under the age of 18 spend an average of 18% of their total annual child-rearing expenses on childcare and education.75 It may be, then, that each of these household types responds similarly during positive economic times, both in terms of their health and educational spending, respectively, and their philanthropy.