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Patch's Polls: How Much of Your Income Do You Give to Charity?

A new report shows that Connecticut residents residents rank 45th in the country in terms of how much of their income they donate.

Do you give a good amount of your money to charity? If you’re from Connecticut, then you’re in the minority.

New data released by The Chronicle of Philanthropy put Connecticut at 45th when calculating the percentage of one's discretionary income that went to a charitable cause. State residents here give just 3.3 percent of their income to charity, which is still higher than the rest of New England but much lower than other states like Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi.

To see a breakdown by towns, click here.

The most charitable state was Utah, whose state residents gave over 10 percent of their discretionary income. Utah is a notably religious state, with the majority of its religious adhering to the Mormon faith. Much of the data showed that residents from the least religious states are also the most stingy with giving, and the residents from the more religious states are likely to give to charity.

The Chronicle based its data on charitable deductions based on by the Internal Revenue Service tax returns from 2008.

But for this very reason, Angela Powers of the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven, said analyzing charitable deductions can be deceiving.

According to The Associated Press, Powers noted that about half of all money to her organization comes in the form of estate gifts, which wouldn’t be reported in individual tax returns.

And it should be noted that Connecticut, overall, ranked 22 in terms of total contribution to charity, having given $2.3 billion in 2008.

Now it’s time to put you on the spot. What percentage of your income went to charity last year? Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments.

RalphieLockwood August 22, 2012 at 03:53 AM
"Charity" starts at home. Besides, I support the local and state governments with all sorts of my tax money!
Adam August 22, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Paying taxes is not charity. Charity must be voluntary and go to individuals in need. Your comments is important, however, because it shows how charitable giving DECREASES as tax rates INCREASE. Obviously, there is still a lot of poverty in Connecticut. Thus, government spending in CT (being one of highest in the country per capita) is being spent on something else besides poverty prevention/elimination or its being wasted, or both. Ironically, lower taxes may actually result in an INCREASE in charitable giving, and because it's often at the lowest level, it's more likely to get to those persons who actually need it.
Patrick August 22, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Not a suprise this state ranks so low considering how blue it is. And less of a suprise that the states that are high...Utah, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi...are four of the most red states in the country. Funny how people assume conservatives are selfish and could care less about people in need. Like that Ari guy who said conservatives lack empathy? What does he have to say about this study? Liberals rely on the government/taxes to provide for those less fortunate, rather than the freedom to use your money to better the world and those in need, in more productive ways, through charitable organizations.
Patrick August 22, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Superb point, Adam. Some people just can't wrap their head around the fact that wanting economic freedom does not make you a selfish person. People are naturally good and want to help those who are in need (especially those for reasons mostly beyond their control). Self-righteous liberals think that the extra taxes they are pushing for to support welfare and obamacare makes them selfless and benevolent, while all conservatives are money hoarders who want nothing to do with helping our country. This is a false misconception that needs to be put away, because it is not fair to those conservatives who truly want the best for all in this great country.
Marcie August 22, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Be careful of the Charities you donate to. Charity Navigator is very good at http://www.charitynavigator.org/ seeing the balance sheets of the top charities. I have a problem giving my hard earned money for a charity. FYI The CEO of the American Red Cross makes $501k per year. Yes, while that is .01% of the budget it is excessive IMHO. Some charities have less then 10% go to the people they "support". Fortunately, my BIL is a minister and I would rather give to his church then to a "private" charity.
Kelly P August 22, 2012 at 09:33 PM
It seems we would need to know more than the article addresses. CT has the highest per capita income of any state. I would like to know how CT's per capita giving compares to per capita giving of the states ranked as having higher percentage of income given to charities. That would tell us more about relative giving. Another point to consider is that the article does not distinguish between kinds of charitable giving. I am going to hazard a guess that most giving is to churches in the states ranked with higher percentages. And giving to churches, while deductible and within the IRS data, may not do anything more than support a church. Is it making it into the community to service the needy? I venture that churches don't get as much of the charitable donations in CT or the northeast generally as in the south. But it'd be interesting to note be able to track whether the giving is to organizations that use the funding to service the needy.
Kelly P August 22, 2012 at 09:41 PM
But Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi are 3 of the 10 poorest states in the U.S. It very much stands to reason that widespread need is going to drive up giving. What's more interesting on the conservative-liberal debate is that WHY these conservative states have such widespread poverty, bad health and need. It's not exactly an argument in favor of conservative policy. And more notably "red" states take in considerably more in federal dollars than they pay in. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/11/states-federal-taxes-spending-charts-maps Yet people from these vote in favor of leadership with platform to cut off their support. The residents better get ready to up those charitable donations even more.

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