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Charity in America
Red States Outpace Blue States in Charitable Giving

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.

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  • Corlyss

    This is nothing new. As noted, Arthur Brooks revealed the ugly truth in his Who Really Cares: America’s Charity Divide, Who Gives, Who Doesn’t, and Why It Matters. In many contexts, its a great rebuttal to the Dem whiners who think the 50% who pay taxes don’t do anything else to help folks.

    Here’s the deal: We conservatives want liberals to keep their money or give it to the charity of your choice. But liberals want to take our money via taxes and give it to a charity they set up thru federal or state legislation so they can keep their money and still feel good about themselves on the assumption that they approvingly take from those who produce and give it to those hapless souls who got plenty of need but either can’t or won’t produce (h/t to Marx).
    The statists have been competing with charities since Teddy Roosevelt read Jacob Riis’ How The Other Half Lives and sent him a note asking “How can I help?” If the celebrants of the modern administrative state had their way, charities would wither away (the next Dem elected president will make a much harder push to eliminate charitable deductions than Doofus did, although he tried to as part of his few pitiful gestures toward tax reform). Why? Because what need is there for charities when the modern administrative state takes care of EVERYBODY in EVERY WAY!

    • Boritz

      “…either can’t or won’t produce…”

      And they’ve never given a tinker’s damn which.

      • iowaclass

        Is this a real problem — lack of “production”? Do we have a scarcity of “produced” goods?

  • iowaclass

    I admit it: I have never given any “charitable” contributions to Evangelical missionaries for instigating anti-gay pogroms in Uganda. I’m sure the Red-Staters of Utah and Alabama are way ahead of me on that type of “charitable” giving. So be it.

    • Loader2000

      When I was in Zambia, the country was filled with orphanages for aids orphans and other kids abandoned for other reasons. In every case where we were able to find how how the orphanage was funded, the money came from a church in the US, with one exception, and in that particular case it was religious people from Utah that were running it.

      • iowaclass

        Does this prove or disprove anything? It’s nice there are churches taking care of AIDS orphans. It’s sad that there would be fewer AIDS orphans if certain religious groups had not discouraged condom use.

        • stanbrown

          Sick and wrong on the facts.

  • David Thomascall

    I suspect this statistic is misleading. Sure people in highly religious states (Red states) donate to charity but I would be willing to bet a large percentage of the donations go to churches, which in many cases are nothing more that glorified (pun intended) social clubs. Just go to any small town in the South and you’ll notice that the biggest buildings in town are almost always churches.

    • RCPreader

      It’s not misleading at all. This subject has been studied for years, and other studies have shown that, in addition to donating much more to churches, conservatives give more to other charities also. AND they donate more blood and volunteer more. And, liberals give a higher share of their donations to “charities” which tend to serve elites more than the poor, such as art museums.

    • Thirdsyphon

      Also, I think these statistics are misleading because much of the flood of right-wing money that’s been sloshing into politics in the wake of Citizens United has been tax-deductible and therefore technically “charitable”, although most people wouldn’t see it that way.

      • stanbrown

        So wrong on so many facts.

      • Tom

        This differential has been well-documented even before Citizens United.

        • Thirdsyphon

          To a lesser extent, sure; but even before Citizens United, a handful of megadonors were lavishing millions upon millions of dollars on right-wing think tanks and industrial groups like The Heritage Foundation and ALEC, to the point where “wingnut welfare” became a running joke in DC.

  • Jagneel

    1. Is it really a charity if it goes to your megachurch?
    Sure Joel Osteen, Pat Robertson et. al get to live in mansion but what does it do for the needy.
    Mormons giving the 10% to mormon church helps….who else..mormons.

    2. Red states are consistently the moocher states and blue states are donor states.

    3. Gawdly americans (read: born-again megachurch variety) are the worst tippers. Ask any waiter or waitresses. Their attitude seems to be if Gawd chose for not blessing these poor souls. Who am I to interfere with Him. That’s what happens when you don’t shell out a 10% from your minimum wage to your Silver Hair Televangelist.

    • Tom

      In response…
      1. Stats, please?
      2. Red states provide food, soldiers, and fuel. Blue states give them money. Give it up, that meme’s old.
      3. Because, as we all know, all Christians go to megachurches.

      • Jagneel

        Red states provide food is one of those Zombie ideas. California, with its Class I soil, produces 90% of tomatoes, almost 100% of almonds, walnuts, ..hundreds of different kinds of fruits and vegetables.
        Same for soldiers myth. Not true. Sure there lot more uneducated red necks who have nothing else going for them and they enlist. Even then their numbers are not any way significantly disproportionate. Commissioned Officers are different story.
        You take away Texas, rest of the red states will be third-world countries without the yankee dollar.
        Only thing Mississippi, Alabama ..provide are backwardness. Imagine a what a great country it would be without these half a dozen red states.
        All groups have share of its fools and greats. The difference is GOP’s fools get elected and are controlling the party. I used to vote off and on republican. But last decade or so GOP has become a total kooksville. Many GOP leaders agree when speaking off the record.
        Forget about climate change, economics, and what not you can hardly get a GOP elected person to admit to accepting evolution. Wait till someone tells them that gravity is just a theory which it is.

        • Tom

          Wait…I recognize your arguments.

          You’re going down. Again.

          1. Wheat and corn. Ever heard of them? You know, staple crops? The kind California doesn’t grow much? As well as meat production. Fish I’ll give you–oh, and California has been doing its accidental best to destroy its food production over the past few years.

          2. You’re a smug, self-righteous idiot. US military recruits are more likely to have a high school education than their non-enlisted peers, are disproportionately from the South, Midwest, and Mountain States, and are over represented in those quintiles earning more than $40,000 a year.

          The rest…as I mentioned in my other comment, brush the straw off before you go out in public.

          • Jagneel

            corn and wheat? did you say government subsidies? Leave midwest states alone as they are not red states. Heck, even Texas is going to turn purple if demographic trends continue. No. Sorry. You can’t have country back.
            I have been to most states enough number of times. The variety of fresh foods is severely lacking even in farm states.
            Why don’t you just check out about farm, meat and cheese in CA?
            Let’s us even start comparing world-class universities , you know the places that are known for things other than football, or innovations (silicone valley, anyone?) between red states and blue states. That’s neither funny nor fair.
            But I must concede that when it comes to divorce rate, out of wedlock birth, teen pregnancies, capital punishment (guilty or not. git-r-done. so much for being pro-life), incest,
            red states win hands down.

          • Tom

            Government subsidies that keep your food cheap. Sorry, Mac.
            Regarding the, “not red states” thing…We’re talking about the present, not the future (nice attempt to change the subject) (although, if you want to talk about the future, we can), and here’s a county-by-county map for you to look at.
            As to the rest, you really need to brush that straw off. Seriously, you look like one of those hicks you so despise, you’re so covered in it.

          • Jagneel

            IT looks like Romney should’ve won by 40 points and congress should 90% GOP. Oh! I forgot, y the red areas are mostly empty spaces. Cows don’t get to vote as we know. No scratch that. The way senate is made up, cows do get to vote. Otherwise, why would ND get two senators.

          • stanbrown

            what a nasty bigot

          • Tom

            You have nothing against…excuse while I go off into the corner and laugh hysterically.

  • stanbrown

    Socialists have actively fought against charitable giving for at least a century. The argument was that giving to charity worked against the inevitable revolution by delaying the collapse of the evil capitalist system.

    Psychologists studying the issue have found that liberals feel good about themselves and feel like they have satisfied their charitable obligations by voting for Democrats. So they don’t give their own money.

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