A new analysis of American charitable giving found that the most generous states of 2012 cast their votes for Mitt Romney. It also found that wealthier Americans gave less over the period between 2006 to 2012 while lower-income Americans increased their donations, and that the region with the “densest giving” was the south. Here’s WaPo summarizing more of those findings from The Chronicle of Philanthropy‘s report:
Of the states that gave the most to charity in 2012, the top 17 all voted for Mitt Romney that year. The bottom seven states in giving all voted for Obama. […]But that almost certainly correlates with another tendency that The Chronicle reported on last year: Religious people give more to charity. And in its annual assessment of the nation’s religiosity, Gallup reveals that the states at the top of the giving list — Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee — are also at the top in terms of religious devotion.
The correlation between the generosity of conservative and southern states and their higher degrees of religiosity is perhaps not surprising. That conservatives tend to give more—and that their level of giving is probably related to their religious beliefs—was the thesis of Who Really Cares, the 2007 book on the giving gap by Arthur C. Brooks, now of AEI. Yet it’s heartening to learn that the charitable inclinations of the faithful (and the conservative) don’t fade when the going gets tough; the giving gap seems to have persisted through the recession.A generous civil society has always characterized America in her best moments, and churches have usually been foremost in the constellation of charitable non-state institutions. In light of that, the increasingly cultural alienation from these institutions is troubling—as is the outright destruction of them we sometimes see.