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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Who Gives?

As the recession lifted, poor and middle class Americans dug deeper into their wallets to give to charity, even though they were earning less. At the same time, according to a new Chronicle analysis of tax data, wealthy Americans earned more, but the portion of the income they gave to charity declined. 
Using the IRS data, The Chronicle was able to track gifts to charity at the state, county, metropolitan-area, and ZIP code levels. The data were for gifts to charity among taxpayers who itemize deductions on their tax forms. It captured $180-billion that was given to charity in 2012, or about 80 percent of the total amount given to charity as tabulated by "Giving USA." 
The Chronicle study found that Americans give, on average, about 3 percent of their income to charity, a figure that has not budged significantly for decades. However, that figure belies big differences in giving patterns between the rich and the poor. 
The wealthiest Americans—those who earned $200,000 or more—reduced the share of income they gave to charity by 4.6 percent from 2006 to 2012. Meanwhile, Americans who earned less than $100,000 chipped in 4.5 percent more of their income during the same time period. Middle- and lower-income Americans increased the share of income they donated to charity, even as they earned less, on average, than they did six years earlier.
The Christian Science Monitor adds:
Using IRS information, the report looked at charitable gifts that were claimed as itemized deductions. So, is there a unifying factor for high charitable donations? According to the report, the top 17 most generous states all voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. The most generous state was Utah, which has a giving rate of about 6.6 percent. That state was followed by Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia.

Church attendance also factored into people's likeliness to donate, says Chronicle editor Stacy Palmer. In Utah, for example, residents donated $65.60 to charity for every $1,000 they earned. Utah has a Mormon population of 62.2 percent, according to 2012 Census data. The Mormon Church requires members to give at least 10 percent of their annual income to charity.