In 2008, Dr. Bruce Wydick, a professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, along with two colleagues, conducted a study of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program to determine its impact on the adult life outcomes of formerly sponsored children against those of children who were not part of the ministry’s programs.
Their research spanned two years and focused on six nations where Compassion provided child sponsorship between 1980 and 1992. They interviewed 1,860 formerly sponsored children along with non-sponsored siblings and children from their communities and outlying communities where Compassion programs were not offered. Data was collected on more than 10,000 individuals.
Wydick and his colleagues concluded that Compassion’s program has large and statistically significant impacts on the educational, employment and leadership outcomes of our children.
This research has been peer-reviewed and was published in the April 2013 issue of the Journal of Political Economy—one of the most prestigious economics journals in the world.
Download a Research Summary >
When asked which component of Compassion’s program was most beneficial to the formerly sponsored children, the most common answer was "educational support" (38.5%). The second-most common response related to "spiritual or character development" (29.4%).
The research found that former Compassion sponsored children were more likely to have salaried/white-collar jobs than their non-sponsored peers.
- 14 to 18 percent more likely to have salaried employment
- roughly 35 percent more likely to secure white-collar employment as adults
The research found that former Compassion sponsored children were more likely to be leaders in their communities and churches.
- 30 to 75 percent more likely to become community leaders as adults than their non-sponsored peers
- 40 to 70 percent more likely to become church leaders as adults than their non-sponsored peers
And Compassion sponsorship increases the probability that a child becomes a teacher by 63 percent.
An extra year of schooling can have long-lasting impact on a child’s future employment possibilities. The research found that former Compassion sponsored children stay in school longer than their non-sponsored peers: 1 to 1.5 years longer. In Uganda, the numbers are much higher—2.4 years.
Former Compassion sponsored children were:
- 27 to 40 percent more likely to finish secondary education than those who were not enrolled in the child sponsorship program.
- 50 to 80 percent more likely to complete a university education than non-sponsored children.