If we’re so ignorant and hateful out here in Red State Land, how come we give more to charity than you enlightened, caring Blue Staters?
What puzzles some researchers is not just the parsimony of the wealthy states, but also the pattern. The same Northeastern “blue” states – those labeled Democratic at election time – have appeared near the bottom of the list in every year since the index began keeping track in 1997. And the same “red” – or Republican – states are always near the top. So is there something about geography that influences both voting and giving patterns?
Actually, it may have more to do with culture, especially religious habits.
“The reason low-income states give a lot is religion,” said George McCully, president of Massachusetts-based Catalogue for Philanthropy, whose index uses 2002 IRS tax return data to compare each state’s average itemized charitable deduction with its average adjusted gross income.
Let’s go to the map:
Charitable Giving, Ranked by % of Income
Red = Most, Blue = Least