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The Fraser Institute has released their latest report on charitable giving in the U.S. and Canada, and once again North America’s leaders in charitable donations from the Rio Grande to the Arctic Circle reside overwhelmingly in red states. This has been the case for some time, and the reason for it almost certainly comes down to a difference in philosophy regarding charity and the role of private/public institutions in its application. It’s unsurprising that conservatives – who by and large believe in the sovereignty of the individual, particularly in terms of fiscal decision-making – choose to give of their own net incomes to charitable causes and organizations that they find worthwhile. It’s also unsurprising (and stereotypical) that liberals choose to give less of their own net income to charity, instead leaving that responsibility to the government, which replaces the individual as the evaluator and benefactor of charitable organizations and endeavors. Based on that philosophy of charity and responsibility, it’s no surprise that some liberals have been calling on the government to reduce or eliminate the charitable giving tax deduction.
Based on 2009 data, the Fraser Institute found that the top ten states by percentage of aggregate income donated to charity are: (1) Utah, (2) Georgia, (3) Alabama, (4) Maryland, (5) South Carolina, (6) Idaho, (7) North Carolina, (8) Oklahoma, (9) Mississippi and New York. The rest of the top half are below the fold:
13. Washington, DC
15. South Dakota
Those coming in at the bottom of the pack had some New England flavor to them: (45) Hawaii, (46) Rhode Island, (47) West Virginia, (48) New Hampshire, (49) Vermont, (50) North Dakota.