How Much Do Pacifica Residents Give to Charity?

New study details giving by ZIP Code and finds areas with more GOP voters are more likely to support charities.

How much is your area giving to charities? A new national study details the generosity in America's communities.

In Pacifica's ZIP Code 94044, people gave a median $1,801 or 3.2 percent, per household to charity in 2008, according to a study released Monday by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The study was based on Internal Revenue Service records from 2008 of Americans who itemized deductions. It gives ZIP-code level detail about the percentage of discretionary income that people gave to charity. 

The IRS releases total amounts donated, but to protect privacy, the agency does not provide data about the specific charities people supported. Because of discrepancies in the data for people with income below $50,000, The Chronicle’s study includes only taxpayers who reported incomes of $50,000 or more. Readers can use the online edition of this report to find detailed breakdowns, by income level, showing the percentage of income donated by people in various income brackets for each ZIP code.

The study found:

  • States that voted Republican in the last presidential election are far more likely to be generous to charities than those that voted Democratic. The top eight states in giving preferred John McCain over Barack Obama.
  • Utah was the No. 1 state in giving at 10.6 percent, with Salt Lake City as the most giving city. By contrast, residents in Massachusetts and three other New England states give less than 3 percent. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey and Rhode Island are the least-generous states.
  • California ranked No. 25 out of the 50 entries with $17.2 billion total contributions and a median contribution of $2,396.
  • Lower-income people give a far bigger share of their income to charities than the wealthy.
  • Rich people who live in areas with mostly wealthy people give a smaller share of their incomes to charity than rich people in economically diverse areas.
  • Regions that are deeply religious give more than those that are not. Two of the top 10 states—Utah and Idaho—have high numbers of Mormons, who tithe more consistently than other churches. The other states in the top 10 are all in the so-called Bible Belt.

The Chronicle website also features an interactive map looking at how America gives.

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Cris August 27, 2012 at 08:21 PM
One thing not mentioned in this is that churches count as charities. (hence the large amount given to charities in SLC.) Churches should not count as charities since they do not have to publicly disclose their spending or earnings as all other non-profits do. Who knows how much money going to a church actually makes it to helping those in need? So of course those religions that are deeply religious gave more...most likely to their church. most likely because their creed requires them to, as is exemplified by the 10% of net worth tithe required by the mormon church.
Day-Oh August 28, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Whether or not you think churches "should" qualify as "charities" (I don't think think they should be tax-exempt), they are classified as as 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations under the tax code (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/501%28c%29#Types). The same tax code requires them to make their financials known publicly. Every 501(c)3 must file a Form 990 disclosing their assets, expenditures, etc. It's publicly available on sites such as Guidestar.com and others, should you choose to look it up.


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