TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, May 15, 2014

American Generosity, State by State

FiveThirtyEight:  American Generosity, State by State:

[W]e have two different measures of generosity for each state. The philanthropy study shows the total amount donated in each state in 2008 (which we can use to calculate per capita donations), while the Gallup poll shows the percentage of people who say they have given money. This comparison doesn’t show that those in certain states are lying — it merely highlights the difference between how many people say they have given to charity and a rough estimate of how much people are actually digging into their pockets. Do they correlate?

At the top of the most-charitable list, survey responses and giving match up. As a state, Utah gave $2.4 billion in 2012; that doesn’t seem like much compared with other places (Tennessee gave $2.7 billion), but Utah’s annual donations per capita ($827) were the highest in the country.


Tax | Permalink


The reason Utah ranks highest per capita is probably the Mormon tithe. All religious giving is counted as charitable, regardless of the uses to which the contributions are put and regardless of whether the contributions are "voluntary" in the ordinary sense.

Posted by: Theodore Seto | May 15, 2014 1:27:22 PM

The reason that states like California and New York show up high is that their residents give to the ACLU, Save the Whales, and Voter Information for Democrats.

Posted by: Woody | May 15, 2014 7:43:30 PM