Lower-income people tend to donate a larger percentage of their income to charity than wealthier people, according to a new study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
According to the study, households with incomes of $50,000 to $75,000 donate on average 7.6 percent of their discretionary income. "That's compared with about 4 percent for those with incomes of $200,000 or more," NPR reported.
A big part of the discrepancy in giving may be due to religion.
Peter Panepento, the assistant managing editor of the Chronicle, told NPR, "States like Utah and Alabama and Mississippi all end up very high on our list and states where [there's] more of a secular mindset, particularly in New England and all along the coast, tended to show up lower on the list." He added that lower-income donors tend to give a lot of their charitable dollars to churches.
The Associated Press noted that beyond religion, politics may also play a factor in giving.
Nine of the 10 least generous states voted Democrat in the last election. "By contrast, of the 10 most generous states, eight voted for Republican John McCain," according to the AP. Panepento added that he believes that may still be due to the religious beliefs of those states. “I don’t know if I could go out and say it’s a complete Republican-Democrat difference as much as it is different religious attitudes and culture in these states."
According to ABC, the most generous state is Utah, with each citizen giving an average of $5,255 to charity. Panepento said this is due to the practice of tithing, or giving a certain percentage of one's income to the church. "Utah, far and away, has given the most to charity, with its strong tie to the Mormon religion."
ABC reported that the remaining top five most giving states are the District of Columbia followed by Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.