That’s the story. Right?
That’s the spin anyway. But it’s wrong.
Once again the Chronicle of Philanthropy has released their survey of US giving. Based on the most recent IRS records of itemized deductions, the study found the following:
In Utah and Mississippi, the average household contributes more than seven percent of the annual income to charity. In contrast, those in Massachusetts and three other New England states give less than three percent.
The divide in cities is much the same, with Salt Lake City, Memphis and Birmingham giving seven percent, while Boston and Providence come in at less than three.
This interactive tool from the Chronicle of Philanthropy will allow you to view the numbers for any location in the U.S.
As for politics, the Chronicle writes: Red states are more generous than blue states. The eight states where residents gave the highest share of income to charity went for John McCain in 2008. The seven-lowest ranking states supported Barack Obama.
The survey notes that religion plays a key factor in giving. Utah and Idaho are in the top nine. Both states have large numbers of Mormon residents. Making up the rest of the top nine are Bible Belt states.
The survey seems to also be playing out in this year’s Presidential election. According to the White House Dossier:
Even in the the years he was running for president, Obama gave less than Romney has in the past two years. The Obamas’ giving totaled 5.8 percent of income in 2007, when he made $4.1 million, and 6.5 percent of the $2.6 million he earned in 2008.
Romney’s estimated 2011 tax return shows he gave 19.2 percent of his income to charity, while his 2010 return puts his giving at 13.8 percent of his income.
White House Dossier does note, Only in the past two years have the Obamas finally started giving comprable amounts, donating 14 percent of their income in 2010 and 21.8 percent in 2011.