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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

New England Cheapskates?

Apparently, New England is not only the land of pretty white churches and gorgeous fall leaves, we're also the land of cheapskates. In Forbes Magazine's survey of the habits of individual state's charitable giving, New England states were in the bottom half of the survey. Oddly, the highest ranking New England state for charitable giving was Maine. Maine...the poorest New England state. I'm just saying...

In the study, which was adjusted for cost of living, the most generous states were Utah, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Minnesota and Georgia. Wealthy people--those with incomes over $200,000--in those states gave 1.1% of their assets to charity, well above the national average of 0.7%.

The richest states, ironically, are among the stingiest. None of the ten richest states cracked the top 25 in giving percentage. California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas couldn't match their neighbors who gave more with less.

New Hampster was at the very bottom of the pile at number 49. Now that doesn't surprise me, seeing as they can't even decide whether or not seatbelts are a personal freedom. Libertarians aren't by nature very charitable, either economically or politically, and let's face it, the Hamster state has never been known for it's giving nature. Live Free and Die Poor, What do We Care? should be on their license plates. For shame, New Hampster.

New England, we can do better. We should do better. I challange you all to dig deeper into your pockets, not just during the holiday season, but all year long. Project Bread has recently reported that hunger in Massachusetts has doubled in the past 3 years. We're a rich state, and yet people go hungry. Why is that?

New Hampshire

Rank: 49

Number of people making over $200,000 a year: 13,660

Percent of assets donated: 0.48%

Percent of people who volunteer: 31.6%

Massachusetts

Rank: 32

Number of people making over $200,000 a year: 97,936

Percent of assets donated: 0.66%

Percent of people who volunteer: 27.0%

Maine

Rank: 29

Number of people making over $200,000 a year: 7,735

Percent of assets donated: 0.67%

Percent of people who volunteer: 33.3%

The bottom five included:

Rhode Island

Rank: 42

Number of people making over $200,000 a year: 8,906

Percent of assets donated: 0.56%

Percent of people who volunteer: 26.6%

Vermont

Rank: 43

Number of people making over $200,000 a year: 4,425

Percent of assets donated: 0.55%

Percent of people who volunteer: 39.8%

Connecticut

Rank: 36

Number of people making over $200,000 a year: 65,782

Percent of assets donated: 0.64%

Percent of people who volunteer: 30.7%
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1 Comments:

Blogger Belinda said...

Interesting that they limited it to a study of only how the WEALTHY donate. I'm not surprised to see Arkansas so close to the bottom with those criteria, because, frankly, while the Waltons, Tysons, Hunts, et al do give a lot of money, it's a TINY fraction of their actual worth. I remember when W. was praising the Walton family to high heavens for their "generous" contribution of over a million $$ post-Katrina. Then our local weekly paper figured the donation in relation to the assets of the giver, and it was, like, the equivalent of Alex and I buying a Katrina victim a Big Mac.

Interestingly, when someone last year did a poll on charitable behavior state-by-state that focused on percentage of total giving in relation to average per-capita income (which is, of course, VERY LOW in Arkansas), we came out close to the top, meaning that even our low-income families give to others. I'd bet your state fares similarly under those criteria. This was a clear trend in Southern states...I'm betting a lot of it has to do with tithing, because come what may, we gets in our tithes, you know?

Bucking the trend of the "stingy" wealthy in Arkansas? Most notably, the Rockefeller family. Good people. There are many more, but they don't offset the trend of the very wealthy families I mentioned above. Arkansas has a VERY high percentage of the nation's "top 1%" of the rich. I'd imagine the insanely low cost of living here helps to multiply the assets of the obscenely wealthy pretty well.

18/11/06 5:30 PM  

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