Middle-class, Religious People Most Likely to Donate to Charity


Posted on Mon Aug 20, 2012

From the you-probably-already-knew-this department comes a study that shows that rich people simply aren’t as generous as middle-class folks.

A special report by The Chronicle of Philanthropy shows that “households that earn $50,000 to $75,000 give an average of 7.6 percent of their discretionary income to charity, compared with an average of 4.2 percent for people who make $100,000 or more.” But there’s considerably more of interest in the study than the sad-but-predictable finding that the affluent tend not to be altruistic.

Among the other findings:

Red states are more generous than blue states. The eight states where residents gave the highest share of income to charity went for John McCain in 2008. The seven-lowest ranking states supported Barack Obama.

Northeastern cities are less generous than the rest of the nation. residents of Salt Lake City, Memphis, and Birmingham, Ala., typically give at least 7 percent of their discretionary income to charity, while those in Boston and Providence average less than 3 percent.

Religion has a big influence on giving patterns. Regions of the country that are deeply religious are more generous than those that are not. Two of the top nine states—Utah and Idaho—have high numbers of Mormon residents, who have a tradition of tithing at least 10 percent of their income to the church. The remaining states in the top nine are all in the Bible Belt.

When religious giving isn’t counted, the geography of donating is very different. Some states in the Northeast jump into the top 10 when secular gifts alone are counted. New York would vault from No. 18 to No. 2, and Pennsylvania would climb from No. 40 to No. 4.

The entire study, complete with a series of fun interactive tools, is available here.


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