Utah On Top of Giving

When it comes to giving, Utah is on top. According to a new study residents in the Beehive state give more to charity than any other state in the country. Jessica Gail reports on what the study reveals about the nation’s most charitable people.

Utahns sure know how to share. A study released Monday shows the state’s residents give 10.6% of their discretionary income to charity.

"Utah was pretty far and away ahead of everybody else. The next closest state which was Mississippi only gave about 7.1% or 7.2% to charity.”

Peter Panepento, Assistant Managing Editor at the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the newspaper who conducted the study attributes Utah’s first place ranking to the LDS church and their emphasis on giving 10% of their income to the church, saying “Tithing is a big part of the Mormon religion and that seems to really have prompted a lot of people to give.”

According to the LDS church, 88.8% of active LDS donate 10% of their annual income to the Church. In addition the Church reports their members also donate an average of over $1,800 a year to other social and community causes.

Panepento says he’s not surprised by Utah’s ranking because states with a higher religious participation ranked higher in charitable giving.

“When you look at the states beyond Utah that scored very high in this measure, most of them were Bible Belt states in the south. So states like Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina those states rounded out the top five.”

Director of Religious Studies at the University of Utah, Muriel Schmid says while the results of the study do not surprise her she does think it is a bit too narrow. Schmid says many cultures place more emphasis on giving through time rather than money.

“I would say it is a very Christian map and it doesn’t give us much insight into other traditions and how they understand their relationship with charitable donations.”

The newspaper conducted the study based on Internal Revenue Service records of people who itemized deductions in 2008, the most recent records available.

The same study was done 10 years ago where Utah was also crowned the winner.

Explore the How America Gives study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy