Mormon church  Mormon Tabernacle and buildings of Salt Lake City
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By BLAKE ELLIS

A recent spate of disasters, including the Oklahoma tornadoes, the Boston bombing and the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, has people across the country reaching for their wallets to help out.

But, if past trends are any indication, residents in some states tend to be a lot more generous than others.

Utah, home to the nation's biggest Mormon population, is also the most charitable state, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy's most recent report that looks at giving as a percentage of discretionary income.

Mormons are supposed to tithe at least 10 percent of their income to the Church of Latter-Day Saints, and the median donation among Utah households lines up with that requirement -- amounting to $5,255 per household, or 10.6 percent of discretionary income.

That generosity is even more impressive considering the median discretionary income in the state is less than $50,000 -- the fifth lowest in the country.

Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina round out the top five, giving between 7.2 percent and 6.4 percent of annual income.

There's a direct correlation between giving and religion, the Chronicle found, with residents of Southern states donating larger portions of their income than their Northeastern counterparts.

"Giving is very much part of religion," said Daniel Borochoff, president of charity rating service CharityWatch. "The organized efforts by religious groups also motivate and inspire people to give."

The stingiest state in the country is New Hampshire, according to the Chronicle. Even though the median discretionary income in New Hampshire is over $59,000 -- one of the highest in the nation -- households in the state only gave 2.5 percent of annual discretionary income, or $1,500. Residents of Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts all donated less than 3 percent of income, while Rhode Islanders gave 3.1 percent.

Overall, residents of Southern states donated about 5.2 percent of discretionary income to charity, compared to 4 percent in the Northeast. Excluding donations to religious charities, Northeasterners outpace Southerners, giving 1.4% of their income to secular charities like the American Red Cross and AmeriCares, compared with 0.9% from their neighbors to the South.

The Chronicle developed its rankings by analyzing itemized charitable deductions from 2008 IRS data, the most recent available. While many donors don't itemize their taxes, there is no concrete data for unitemized donations. And because those who itemize often do so as a result of high state and local taxes or high mortgage payments and taxes, the Chronicle excluded cost of living and state and local taxes when calculating median discretionary income for each state.

And many other people who give money don't even record their donations.

"A lot of giving is done outside of organized philanthropy -- particularly now with crowdfunding -- and the poorer you are the more people you know who need charity and you give directly," said Borochoff.

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Ellen Pierce

These are religious donations that goes to their church! Which in many cases run businesses for profit (but not taxed as such!) very little of this money goes to REAL charity

Give me a study of states that give to the hungry, the needy, the displaced, the disaster victims,etc.

June 13 2013 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mark

It's kind of funny that the RED states give much more than BLUE states, yet conservatives are..cold hearted, selfish, greedy, racist, bigoted, uncaring and mean spirited peeps. Hmmmm?

June 13 2013 at 10:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wallamalloo

The basis for this article is income tax itemizations...and no one lies on their income tax returns.

June 13 2013 at 10:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
marlene161

There are many other ways to show care besides money. Louisiana goes out in full force personally to help those in need in other states. The firefighters, police and people supplying food to those disaster ares. Know that we care !!!
Sister Marlene

June 13 2013 at 9:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
phasejump

I do not give you special credit because you give to your church. If you give to a food bank sure, but to maintain the church building nothing special - like paying a fee to bowl

June 13 2013 at 9:25 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to phasejump's comment
Mark

You must not attend church. Church collections go to MUCH more than "maintenance". That was a very ignorant assumption on your part. Church collections are used for charitable contributions and to fund community charities and social justice programs and community activities. Churches are the foundations of the largest food banks by the way. DOn't let your feelings against God and people that worship jade your mind so much that it is only open to your negative thoughts. Try to embrace all people and see their good. It's not hard. And you may find that you like it..jussayin

June 13 2013 at 10:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
phasejump

Giving to the church is not charity, it is maintenance

June 13 2013 at 9:24 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
cwoodphotos

This article means nothing other than charity is defined as giving to a church. Mormons and Southern Baptists are into giving to their corporate churches. Liberals tend to not be into mythical religions and give to real charitable organizations rather than corporations disguised as a church for tax purposes.

June 13 2013 at 9:01 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
akimbalogo

Not surprising at all. These stateson the "least generous" list are heavily liberal, and liberals never want to give up their money, they prefer to force others to give up theirs.

June 13 2013 at 7:23 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to akimbalogo's comment
unitedpaintings

When will the Regressive \Democrats show up on this thread. I'd say never.

June 13 2013 at 8:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply