The geography of charitable giving


Interesting statistics and patterns of charitable giving are reported by NPR on a new study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

Ever wonder how charitable the people are who live in your state or community? It turns out that lower-income people tend to donate a much bigger share of their discretionary incomes than wealthier people do. And rich people are more generous when they live among those who aren’t so rich.

That’s according to a new study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, which breaks charitable giving down by ZIP code. It found that generosity varies greatly from one region of the country to another. (Explore charitable giving in your state, city and neighborhood using the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s new interactive.)

The Chronicle found a similar pattern across the nation. Households with incomes of $50,000-$75,000 donate on average 7.6 percent of their discretionary income. That’s compared with about 4 percent for those with incomes of $200,000 or more.

Peter Panepento, the Chronicle’s assistant managing editor, says religious giving, which makes up the bulk of U.S. donations, is a major factor.

The Chronicle found that it’s the same across the country. High-income people who live in economically diverse neighborhoods give more on average than high-income people who live in wealthier neighborhoods.

Read more here.

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John B. Chilton
John B. Chilton

Yet, conservatives tend to give more than liberals. I presume that has to do with gifts to churches -- not exactly my definition of charities given their relatively small outreach budgets.

I'm not surprised those in more diverse communities give more, income held constant. Their values are reflected by where they have chosen to live -- i.e., not in a gated community.

"Provo's generosity is typical for its region. Of the 10 most generous cities in America, according to the Chronicle's calculations, six are in Utah and Idaho. Boston's tight-fistedness is typical too: Of the 10 stingy cities at the bottom of the list, eight are in New England -- including Springfield (No. 363) and Worcester (No. 364)."

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