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Do Gig Harbor Residents Give Enough to Charity?

Gig Harbor residents gave more than $40 million to charities in 2008, according to a new study of tax returns.

How much is your area giving to charities? A new national study details the generosity in America's communities.

Compared to other parts of the Pierce County, Gig Harbor residents are generous when it comes to charitable giving, according to a study released Monday by "The Chronicle of Philanthropy."

Zipcode Total Contribution in 2008 Ranking (out of 28,725) 98335 $26.8 million 893 98332 $11.8 million 3,379 98329 $2.5 million 10,014 Total $41.1 million ----

The difference in giving is reflected nationally in what the "The Chronicle of Philanthropy" has dubbed the Generosity Divide

Gig Harbor Income Levels (98335)

Percent of Income Given Average Contribution Average Discretionary Income Total Returns $50k-$99,999 5.8 percent  $2,047 $35,357 2,359 $100k-$199,999 3.7 percent $3,171 $86,156 2,140 $200k and up 5.4 percent $18,759 $344,643 811 All Income Levels 4.10 percent $2,782 $68,128 5,310

The study was based on Internal Revenue Service records of Americans who itemized deductions. It gives ZIP-code level detail about the percentage of discretionary income that people gave to charity.

Total Contributions Percent of Income Given Median Contribution Median Discretionary Income Pierce County $285 million 4 percent $2,061 $51,472 Tacoma $57.6 million 4.7 percent $2,118 $45,448 University Place $21.7 million 5 percent $2,931
$59,052
Lakewood $20.1 million 5.1 percent $2,650
$51,692
Bonney Lake $16.4 million 2.7 percent $1,599 $58,433 Sumner $3.8 million 3.9 percent $1,913
$49,233
Puyallup $18.2 million 4.2 percent $2,376 $56,207
Fife $2.9 million 5 percent $2,254 $45,052 Steilacoom
$4.1 million 5.4 percent $3,607 $66,724 Spanaway
$9.7 million 3.5 percent $1,543 $44,628 Parkland $10.7 million 4.3 percent $1,819 $42,702

The study found:

  • States that voted Republican in the last presidential election are far more likely to be generous to charities than those that voted Democratic. The top eight states in giving preferred John McCain over Barack Obama.
  • Utah was the No. 1 state in giving at 10.6 percent, with Salt Lake City as the most giving city. By contrast, residents in Massachusetts and three other New England states give less than 3 percent. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey and Rhode Island are the least-generous states.
  • Lower-income people give a far bigger share of their income to charities than the wealthy.
  • Rich people who live in areas with mostly wealthy people give a smaller share of their incomes to charity than rich people in economically diverse areas.
  • Regions that are deeply religious give more than those that are not. Two of the top 10 states—Utah and Idaho—have high numbers of Mormons, who tithe more consistently than other churches. The other states in the top 10 are all in the so-called Bible Belt.

The Chronicle website also features an interactive map looking at how America gives.

Mark Hoppen August 24, 2012 at 03:48 PM
An average contribution and a median contribution are not necessarily comparable. Consequently, other than the fact that contributions from wealthy Gig Harbor people mirror national trends for contributions from wealthy people living among people of diverse income levels, these numbers don't explain, infer, or comparably reveal much at all.
Derek Young August 24, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Seems to me that it follows the national trend. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2009253657_charity23.html Lower income people tend to give a greater percentage of their income. One theory is that they're more likely to come into contact with people in need or have been in that position. I do think there is one problem with using IRS data - giving to a 501(c)3 non-profit isn't necessarily charity. If you're a rich dude who donates lots of money to your favorite art gallery, yacht club, and symphony, it's not going to do the poor a lot of good. Nothing wrong with it, I just don't think that's what charity means. On the other end of the spectrum, Salt Lake City probably tops the chart due to the LDS Church's strict rules on tithing which creates a robust safety net for those in need.

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