Where are America's Biggest Givers?

A new study breaks down charitable giving by zip code, revealing the great variety in donations by area and economic group. Pam Fessler shares the results.
August 21, 2012, 6am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Among the most compelling findings in a new study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy: "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," reports Fessler. 

So what are the causes of the geographical and economic disparities in charitable giving? Tax incentives are one. Religion is another. According to the report, "Regions of the country that are deeply religious are more generous than those that are not." 

So is economic segregation. "High-income people who live in economically diverse neighborhoods give more on average than high-income people who live in wealthier neighborhoods," writes Fessler. Seen in this light, the national rise in economic segregation becomes an even greater threat to the health of our communities. 

The study found that Utah, the District of Columbia, and Mississippi are the most giving states. Salt Lake City, Memphis, and Birmingham are the most giving metro areas.

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Published on Monday, August 20, 2012 in NPR
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