Idahoans Give More To Charity Than People In Most States

Oct 14, 2014

Idaho is a very charitable state. Idahoans gave more of their income to charity than every surrounding state, except Utah. But low-income Idahoans are giving away more of their hard-earned cash than the wealthy.

Credit Alex Proimos / Flickr

The Chronicle of Philanthropy used Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data from 2006 to 2012 to find patterns of giving across the country.

The Chronicle found that in 2012, Idaho had a higher “giving ratio” than all but one of its neighboring states. In this case, the giving ratio is defined as the percentage of adjusted gross income given to charity as "determined using the charitable deductions reported on income-tax forms."

The only neighboring state with a higher ratio was Utah, at 6.56 percent.

  1. Idaho: 4.09 percent
  2. Wyoming: 3.09 percent
  3. Montana: 2.89 percent
  4. Oregon 2.77 percent
  5. Washington: 2.70 percent
  6. Nevada: 2.68 percent

Idahoans were more generous than the average American. Americans gave about 3 percent of their income to charity. Idahoans also followed a trend that The Chronicle found, when it comes to the giving patterns of rich and poor.

As the recession lifted, poor and middle class Americans dug deeper into their wallets to give to charity, even though they were earning less. At the same time, according to a new Chronicle analysis of tax data, wealthy Americans earned more, but the portion of the income they gave to charity declined. –Alex Daniel, The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

In Idaho, people who made less than $25,000 gave away 9.55 percent. But that giving ratio drops steadily as income goes up. Idahoans making $200,000 or more, gave at a rate of 3.51 percent.

That’s consistent with what The Chronicle found across the country.

The wealthiest Americans—those who earned $200,000 or more—reduced the share of income they gave to charity by 4.6 percent from 2006 to 2012. Meanwhile, Americans who earned less than $100,000 chipped in 4.5 percent more of their income during the same time period. Middle- and lower-income Americans increased the share of income they donated to charity, even as they earned less, on average, than they did six years earlier. –Alex Daniel, The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The study also found people in certain parts of Idaho were more likely to give more to charity. People in the southeast portion of Idaho gave more than people in other areas. Counties bordering Wyoming and Utah consistently had a giving ratio of 4 percent or greater. Ada County residents gave 3.39 percent to charity. Bonneville County residents gave 6.24 percent to charity.

Collectively, Idahoans gave $867 million to charity in 2012.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio