YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

California tops in charitable giving; wealthy often play Scrooge

August 20, 2012|By Tiffany Hsu
  • California tops the country in total charitable donations, but is average on an individual level.
California tops the country in total charitable donations, but is average… (Ernesto Benavide / AFP/Getty…)

Who are the most generous givers in the country? It’s not the clusters of rich folk in the Bel-Airs and the Hamptons of the U.S., according to a sweeping report on charitable donations this week.

When groups of wealthy residents live in the same neighborhood, they tend to give a smaller share of their income than their less affluent counterparts, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Granted, those who earn $200,000 a year or more were responsible for 41% of all donations, according to the study of tax records.

But when insulated in a haven of manicured lawns, maids and marbled floors, researchers suspect that deep-pocketed potential donors may become less concerned with outside problems and less willing to drop a major portion of their income on charity.

Consequently, among the top thousand ZIP Codes that donated the largest percentage of income, only nine were also among the country’s top thousand richest ZIP Codes.

California tops all states in total charitable contributions, according to the report. Nearly $1 of every $8 donated comes out of the state.

But on an individual basis, Californians are ranked 25th, with a typical household giving 4.4% of discretionary income. Among the largest metropolitan areas, Los Angeles is 12th in giving, followed by Riverside at 15th, Sacramento at 36th, San Diego at 39th and San Francisco at 43rd.

The state whose residents are most giving? Utah, due in large part to the Mormon tradition of tithing. Typical households there donate 10.6% of their discretionary income. Salt Lake City was ranked the most generous metropolitan area.

Mississippi was the second-most giving state, with households parting with 7.2% of their income for charity. Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Idaho, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina and Maryland round out the top 10. New Hampshire residents are the stingiest, contributing 2.5% of their income.


Household net worth slides 35%, Census Bureau says

Online donations to bullied bus monitor Karen Klein top $540,000

Help Hospitalized Veterans charity accused of diverting donations

Follow Tiffany Hsu on Twitter and Google+

Los Angeles Times Articles