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CHARITABLE AMERICANS KEEP ON GIVING IN SPITE OF ECONOMY

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Americans say they are still giving to charity despite hard economic times, but some are giving less, according to a poll released Thursday.

"Those Americans who are generous continue to remain steady in good times and bad," said Virginia Hodgkinson, vice president for research of Independent Sector, which released results of a survey covering 1991 contributions.Independent Sector is a private group that promotes charity and volunteer work.

"Conditions in the economy have affected the level of giving in many cases," Hodgkinson said. "Givers continue to give, but a substantial proportion give less."

The survey showed that 72 percent of American households contributed to charity in 1991, with an average contribution of $899, or 2.2 percent of household income.

In 1989, 75 percent gave an average of $978 per household, 2.5 percent of household income.

The survey was conducted by the Gallup Organization, which interviewed 2,671 adults in their homes from April 3 to May 17. The error rate for the sample was given as plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Fifteen percent said they gave 5 percent or more of their income in 1991, about the same as in 1989. Fifty-one percent, also about the same as before, said they gave 1 percent or more.

Fifty-one percent did some volunteer work, down slightly from the 54 percent reported in 1989. But the number of hours of volunteer work per week was up slightly, from an average of four hours to an average of 4.2.