America’s Most (and Least) Generous States

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America’s 10 Most Generous States

10. Maryland
> Pct. of income donated: 5.7%
> Total charitable contributions: $3.9 billion (11th highest)
> Median contribution: $2,969 (13th highest)
> Pct. households $200,000+ income: 9.7% (3rd highest)
> Pct. families in poverty: 6.6% (2nd lowest)

Maryland’s median household income of $68,854 is the highest in the U.S., and the percentage of households making more than $200,000 a year, at 9.7%, is the third highest in the country. While Maryland is the only state on this list with a median contribution below $3,000, it may be because residents spend more than most on taxes. Marylanders pay $5,217.64 per capita in state and local taxes, the fifth highest in the U.S. and the highest on this list by a hefty $1,634.92.

Read: States Cutting the Most Government Jobs

9. North Carolina
> Pct. of income donated: 5.9%
> Total charitable contributions: $4.3 billion (9th highest)
> Median contribution: $3,132 (11th highest)
> Pct. households $200,000+ income: 3.6% (24th highest)
> Pct. families in poverty: 13.3% (11th highest)

North Carolina may have one of highest unemployment rates in the country at 9.6%, but residents of this state are still some of the most generous in the country. The giving is also relatively consistent throughout the population with 28.9% of tax returns filing for charitable donations — the 15th-highest percentage in the country. Like many of the most generous states, North Carolina has a church attendance that is also among the highest in the country. 53% of North Carolinians reported going to church, synagogue or mosque at least once a week compared to the 41.6% national average. Three of the most generous cities in the U.S. reporting the most donations per 1,000 people also happen to be located in the Tar Heel state: Cary, Raleigh, and Durham.

8. Georgia
> Pct. of income donated: 6.2%
> Total charitable contributions: $4.8 billion (6th highest)
> Median contribution: $3,396 (7th highest)
> Pct. households $200,000+ income: 4.2% (19th highest)
> Pct. families in poverty: 13.7% (9th highest)

Georgia has among the highest percent of families living below the poverty line and the fifth-highest unemployment rate. The giving in this state is fairly consistent across the population — Georgia ranks 12th for the percentage of tax returns filed with charitable donations listed at 29.7%. Georgia is a fairly religious state — 51% of residents report going to church, synagogue or mosque at least once a week, among the highest in the country.

7. Arkansas
> Pct. of income donated: 6.3%
> Total charitable contributions: $1 billion (18th lowest)
> Median contribution: $3,554 (5th highest)
> Pct. households $200,000+ income: 2.3% (3rd lowest)
> Pct. families in poverty: 14.1% (6th highest)

Like many of the most generous states, Arkansas is one of the poorer states in the country. The median household income is the third lowest in the country at $38,307, and the percentage of households with a median income over $200,000 is less than half the national average of 5.1%. While the percentage of discretionary income donated was one of the highest in the country, Arkansas had the seventh-lowest percentage of tax returns filed with charitable donations listed. The amount, 19.2%, is less than half the amount of Maryland, the state with the highest percentage of tax returns listing charitable donations, although Marylanders gave less as a percent of their discretionary income.

6. Idaho
> Pct. of income donated: 6.4% (tied-fifth)
> Total charitable contributions: $639 million (14th lowest)
> Median contribution: $3,155 (10th highest)
> Pct. households $200,000+ income: 2.3% (4th lowest)
> Pct. families in poverty: 11.6% (19th highest)

Idaho ties with South Carolina for being the fifth most generous state in the nation. According to a 2006 study by Philanthropy Northwest, 69% of all charitable donations in Idaho went towards education related charities. This is an appropriate focus for a state that had the second lowest spending per a pupil at $7,106. The national average for pupil spending was $10,615. Residents may think they have more to donate because Idaho is a downright cheap place to live. The cost of living index for Idaho is the sixth lowest in U.S.