The Most Generous States in America, in One Map

The Most Generous States in America, in One Map

The news: It's long been thought that while conservatives are against the idea of a welfare state, they tend to be more giving to charitable causes, and a new study on U.S. philanthropy backs up this idea of "compassionate conservatism."

This week the Chronicle of Philanthropy published an analysis of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data, which revealed that the 17 most generous states — where people donated the highest percentage of their income — all voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 election, whereas the seven least generous states voted for President Barack Obama.

As you can see in map below, red states tended to be more giving more of the green than blue states:

(You can also click here to access the interactive version, which allows you to view the data by counties and ZIP codes and also lets you filter by income range, religion, race, age range and political leaning.)

The Chronicle didn't provide an explanation for this trend, but it sure seems like people who prefer individual giving to social welfare are putting their money where their mouth is.

"Not to be too simplistic about it, but if you believe that government should take care of basic social services, then you're going to go that way," Chronicle editor Stacy Palmer told the International Business Times. "If you think charities should take care of things, and not government, then you're probably going to give more generously to charity."

The study also found:

1. The average American donates about 3% of their income to charity.

2. Wealthy people (those who make over $200,000 a year) are making more money but donating less. Those who earn less than $100,000 increased their percentage of charitable donations from 2006 to 2012.

3. Still, wealthy Americans contributed $77.5 billion to charity in 2012, which is nothing to sneeze at.

4. In Utah, residents donated $65.60 for every $1,000 earned, which is by far the highest average. At the other end of the spectrum is New Hampshire, where residents only donated $17.40 per $1,000.

And the top 10 most charitable cities were:

1. Salt Lake City, Utah (5.4%)

2. Memphis, Tennessee (5.1%)

3. Birmingham, Alabama (4.8%)

4. Atlanta, Georgia (4%)

5. Nashville, Tennessee (3.9%)

6. Jacksonville, Florida (3.8%)

7. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (3.7%)

8. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas (3.6%)

9. Charlotte, North Carolina (3.4%)

10. Virginia Beach, Virginia (3.4%)

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Eileen Shim

Eileen is a writer living in New York. She studied comparative literature and international studies at Yale University, and enjoys writing about the intersection of culture and politics.

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