Recession Effects: More Child Abuse, Less Gambling and Donating at Church

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Based on the statistics, the recession has had a noticeable impact on babies, casinos, customer brand loyalty, and the church collection plate.

The recession’s impact …

At Church: The LA Times reports that while many churches are doing fine during the economic downturn, a significant number are struggling or have gone kaput:

The Great Recession has left millions of people jobless and cratered home values and retirement accounts. It has also been felt in church collection plates nationwide.

Declines in charitable giving have forced many congregations to slash staff and downsize ministry work. A Vermont church went so far as to put up for sale a 100-year-old Tiffany stained-glass window to keep its homeless shelter open. Experts say a relatively small, but unprecedented, number of churches have gone into foreclosure or bankruptcy.

“It’s been a tough year for churches,” said Simeon May, chief executive for the National Assn. of Church Business Administration, a Texas-based nonprofit that lost 10% of its members because of church layoffs. “Our Phoenix chapter almost went defunct because so many church administrators there have lost their jobs.”

In the Home: The ugly fallout of the financial crisis includes a rise in domestic violence, and also an increase in reports of shaken-baby syndrome:

Researchers analyzed data on 512 cases of head trauma in the children’s centers of four hospitals (in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; and Seattle) and found that the number of cases had increased to 9.3 per month as of Dec. 1, 2007, compared with 6 per month prior to that date — a rate that had held steady since 2004.

In the Minds of Consumers: When it comes to brand loyalty, maybe we’re not so loyal after all, according to a comScore report:

The study evaluated the change in brand loyalty within a number of consumer goods categories, including health & beauty aids, OTC medications, apparel, food, household products and housewares. As the economic downturn has continued, the percentage of shoppers who typically buy the brands they want most has steadily declined across the categories examined. In March 2010, less than 50 percent of shoppers reported purchasing the brand they want most.

And at Slot Machines and Blackjack Tables: Reports USA Today:

The American Gaming Association reported Thursday that revenue from casino gambling fell 5.5% overall last year, with the take falling $1.8 billion from the $32.5 billion of revenue in 2008. Revenue fell in eight of the 12 states that have casino gambling.

“There’s no way to sugarcoat it,” says Frank Fahrenkopf, CEO of the trade association. “The past year was tough.”

… “People had less money to spend on our products,” he says.

I love that choice of words: products. Like it’s a hammer, or a pair of pants, or anything you can buy in a store and use.

Personally, I would have said the same thing using more colloquial, less marketing-friendly words. Something blunter, more to the point, like: “People had less money to blow on gambling.”

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