In 2018, participants in the Socio-Economic Panel were asked for the third time whether and how much money they had donated in the past year to social, church, cultural, charitable and non-profit causes. This paper examines the results of this survey and compares them with the previous findings for the years 2009 and 2014. According to SOEP data, almost one in two private individuals in Germany continued to donate money in 2017. At the same time, the volume of donations has risen again and now amounts to an estimated 9.8 billion euros. The estimate based on SOEP is thus significantly higher than the results of other surveys on donation behavior in Germany. This paper examines the differences to the other studies. In addition, the donation behavior recorded in the three SOEP waves is analyzed from a socio-structural perspective. Descriptive results on socio-demographic differences in donation activity are largely confirmed by multivariate analyses. It is shown that the significantly lower donation rate in eastern Germany is partly explained by the lower average household incomes and a lower rate of religious affiliation.
Keywords: Charitable Giving, Donations, Income, Pro-social Behavior, SOEP