2017’s Most Charitable States
’Tis the season for giving. And the latest World Giving Index shows that Americans are among the world’s most generous people, ranking No. 5 out of 140 countries. U.S. donors in 2016 gave more than $389 billion to charity, with 72 percent of the funds coming directly from individuals, according to the National Philanthropic Trust.
But Americans do more than reach in their pockets to help others. They also contribute their time — and plenty of it. Nearly 63 million people volunteer in the U.S., serving a combined total of 7.9 billion hours per year, the equivalent of $184 billion of service.
Not everyone is equally selfless, however. In the spirit of inspiring altruism, WalletHub determined the most charitable of the 50 states by comparing them across 14 key indicators of charitable behavior. Our data set ranges from volunteer rate to share of income donated to share of sheltered homeless. Read on for our findings, additional commentary from our panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.
Want to give back instead of receiving this holiday season? Use WalletHub’s Charity Calculator to help you determine how best to pitch in, depending on your resources and availability.
Most Charitable States in America
|Overall Rank*||State||Total Score||‘Volunteering & Service’ Rank||‘Charitable Giving’ Rank|
*No. 1 = Most Charitable
Difference between the Percent of Population Who Claim to Have Donated Money and the Percent of Taxpayers Who Donated Money to Charity
Generosity of Red vs. Blue
Not all charities are created equal. Choosing among them — in addition to deciding whether to give money, time or both and how much — therefore can be a challenge. To help donors plan ahead and to provide insight on various charity issues, we asked a panel of experts to share their thoughts on the following key questions:
- How would the current House GOP Tax Reform plan affect charitable giving?
- What are the biggest challenges facing U.S.-based charities in the current economic environment?
- What percentage of income should households donate to charity?
- What advice do you have for choosing the right charity?
- Do you believe charities should face increased regulations and scrutiny in order to reduce fraud?
- Should all nonprofits be able to receive tax-deductible contributions regardless of their mission?
In order to determine the most philanthropic states, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states across two key dimensions, including “Volunteering & Service” and “Charitable Giving”.
We evaluated those dimensions using 14 key metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the “most charitable.”
Finally, we determined each state’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its total score and used the resulting scores to rank-order the states.
Volunteering & Service – Total Points: 50
- Volunteer Rate: Full Weight (~5.88 Points)
- Volunteer Retention Rate: Full Weight (~5.88 Points)
- Volunteer Hours per Capita: Triple Weight (~17.65 Points)
- Community-Service Requirement for High School Graduation: Full Weight (~5.88 Points)
- Share of Population Collecting/Distributing Food: Full Weight (~5.88 Points)
- Share of Population Collecting/Distributing Clothes: Full Weight (~5.88 Points)
- Share of Population Fundraising or Selling Items to Raise Money: Half Weight (~2.94 Points)
Charitable Giving – Total Points: 50
- Share of Income Donated: Double Weight (~17.39 Points)
Note: “Income” refers to aggregate gross income.
- Share of Population Donating Time: Full Weight (~8.70 Points)
Note: “Donors” refers to the percentage of the population who claim to have donated time.
- Share of Population Donating Money: Full Weight (~8.70 Points)
Note: “Donors” refers to the percentage of taxpayers who donated money to charity and the percentage of the population who claim to have donated money.
- Public Charities per Capita: Half Weight (~2.17 Points)
Note: “Public Charities” is based on the Internal Revenue Service’s definition of the term. Among others, these charities include “churches, hospitals, qualified medical research organizations affiliated with hospitals, schools, colleges and universities.” They do not include private foundations, most of which do not engage in “the direct operation of charitable programs.” However, religious organizations were included in the data for the following reasons: 1) the available data does not differentiate between secular charities and religious organizations, and 2) many donors and volunteers consider their contributions to such entities as “charitable giving.”
- Charity Regulations: Full Weight (~4.35 Points)
- ‘Feeding America’ Food Banks per Capita: Full Weight (~4.35 Points)
- Share of Sheltered Homeless: Full Weight (~4.35 Points)
Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Corporation for National & Community Service, Education Commission of the States (ECS), Fraser Institute, National Center for Charitable Statistics, Cogency Global, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Internal Revenue Service, Feeding America and Gallup.
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