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Religious States Donate More To Charity Than Secular States

Southern donors give roughly 5.2 percent income to charity; Northeast donors, only 4 percent.

Are Christians across the United States really tithing 10 percent of their income?

A new report suggests they may not be. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Americans in Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina gave the highest percentages of their discretionary income to charity. Of these, only Utah averaged more than 10 percent.

The correlation between the religious preferences of Americans in those states – high density of Mormons in Utah and Protestant Christians in the Bible Belt South – is notable. The report concludes that donors in the most generous region, the South, "give roughly 5.2 percent of their discretionary income to charity—both to religious and to secular groups—compared with donors in the Northeast, who give 4.0 percent."

However, the data also indicate that "the generosity ranking changes when religion is taken out of the picture. People in the Northeast give the most, providing 1.4 percent of their discretionary income to secular charities, compared with those in the South, who give 0.9 percent."

Another summary of the findings states that politics also plays a role in people's giving. On average, states that leaned toward Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential election gave more than states that supported President Barack Obama.

The report comes from Internal Revenue Service data that shows the value of charitable deductions claimed by American taxpayers in every zipcode in the United States. The study is based on exact dollar amounts, not statistical models.

CT regularly reports on the topic of tithing. Recently CT reported on how church giving has decreased as a percentage of income throughout the recession, as well as on whether or not American evangelicals are stingy.

Related Topics:Money and Business
Posted:August 21, 2012 at 2:22PM
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Religious States Donate More To Charity Than Secular States