Paul L. Caron
Dean


Thursday, December 27, 2018

2016 Charitable Deduction Data: Red States Are More Generous Than Blue States

Tax Foundation, Charitable Deductions by State:

As the end of 2018 approaches, many Americans are considering making end-of-year charitable donations. While the new tax law contains many changes that will impact these decisions, we can look at Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data to gauge how much Americans have deducted for charitable giving in the past.

In tax year 2016, just over 37 million taxpayers took an itemized deduction for their charitable giving, deducting a total of $236 billion in charitable contributions for an average of $6,349. Note that this doesn’t represent the total amount of giving in the United States, just the amount that eligible taxpayers deducted on their income tax returns. It’s also worth noting that wealthier Americans disproportionately benefit from the charitable deduction overall, as it is high-income taxpayers who tend to itemize their deductions.

Tax Foundation

Nine of the ten states with the highest average charitable deductions voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.  Eight of the ten states with the lowest average charitable deductions voted for Hillary Clinton.  

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2018/12/2016-charitable-deduction-data-red-states-are-more-generous-than-blue-states.html

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Comments

It would be interesting to see the breakdown in types of charities. My guess ... some high charitable states are very religious-oriented (e.g. Utah) and some are very social-engineering oriented (e.g. California).

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Dec 27, 2018 4:06:12 AM

And in Pennsylvania we're all confused

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Dec 27, 2018 4:17:36 AM

As always, take out religious giving and you’ll have different results (that don’t support a pre-existing point).

Posted by: Anon | Dec 27, 2018 5:20:27 AM

Nine of the ten states with the highest average charitable deductions voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Eight of the ten states with the lowest average charitable deductions voted for Hillary Clinton.

Not surprising. Zeal for big government to solve social ills is accompanied by a personal unwillingness to sacrifice to solve those ills.

One problem exists with this data. In some states there are huge cultural differences between regions, i.e. coastal versus inland California. When possible, these comparisons should take that into account.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Dec 27, 2018 5:46:01 AM

Liberals are generous with other people's money- not their own. Remember when Al Gore's taxes showed he gave $ 200 on an income over $ 200,000?

Posted by: Smitty | Dec 27, 2018 10:33:46 AM

Smitty's comment is an example of the error-prone right wing attacks on liberals. A one-time, one-person example tells one nothing meaningful about an entire group. Gore that year may have been dealing with extraordinary medical costs (both his son and his wife suffered serious ailments) or whatever. Gore is not every liberal, and that year is not necessarily an exemplar for Gore. I am an admitted progressive/liberal in philosophy. I made less than 200k and donated more than 21k to charity last year. But 2 years before that, I donated only 16k. Who knows what another liberal may have donated each of those years. This tax foundation data is really meaningless, because an average of all taxpayers who were able to claim a charitable deduction tells you nothing unless you know what the number of charitable donors is that makes up that average, what the range of incomes represented is, and what the average was at each end of the range. If there are 1000 donors in one state and only 10 in another, the average donation from the wealthy 10 may be greater than the average donation of the less wealthy 1000, but the 1000 givers could make that state be considerd 'more generous' nonetheless.....

Posted by: taxgirl | Dec 27, 2018 12:48:27 PM

@taxgirl -- Read -- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56158.Who_Really_Cares
Social scientist Arthur Brooks has sorted this out. You will find the findings discomfortingly illuminating.

Posted by: Mike Petrik | Dec 27, 2018 6:01:09 PM

The "average" is misleading for Arkansas, because the Walton family is very generous with its donations, as are many of the top execs at Wal-Mart. Why not use the median -- that won't be thrown off by outliers.

Posted by: John Saunders | Dec 31, 2018 7:11:39 AM