People who live in the Nazareth area are generous. Or... maybe not. It depends on how you interpret the numbers.
A new report from The Chronicle of Philanthropy looked at the percentage of discretionary income Americans contributed to charity in 2008.
The Chronicle broke down communities by zip code and looked at the contributions of households in the 18064 zip code that made more than $50,000 a year. Discretionary income is counted as what taxpayers had left after they paid taxes and paid for food, housing and other essentials.
Nazareth area’s median discretionary income was $60,302, according to the Chronicle’s interactive report. The area’s total charitable contributions in 2008 were $9.6 million, which meant it ranked 4,223 out of 28,725 communities.
But as a measure of how much residents gave as a percentage of their income compared to the rest of the U.S., our community ranks 22,328 out of 28,724.
In 2008, the typical Nazareth area resident gave an average of 3 percent of his or her income to charity, with the median amount of contributions per household at $1,792.
Nationally, the average American household gives 4.7 percent of its median discretionary income of $54,783. The median contribution per American household was $2,564 in 2008.
Pennsylvania as a whole gave $4.7 billion to charity that year, which meant it ranked seventh out of 50 states and Washington, D.C. But Pennsylvanians had a median contribution of $2,181 out of discretionary income of $55,661, which put it at 40th out of 51. The median amount Pennsylvanians gave was 4.1 percent of their discretionary income.
Zip Code: 18064Total Contributions $9.6 million Median Contribution $1,792 Median Discretionary Income $60,302 Percent of Income Given 3 percent Total Contributions Rank 4,223 of 28,275
(18064 zip code includes all of Nazareth and Upper Nazareth Township; portions of Lower Nazareth Township, Bushkill Township and Plainfield Township)
Zip Code: 18020Total Contributions $8.8 million Median Contribution $1,912 Median Discretionary Income $60,262 Percent of Income Given 3.2 percent Total Contributions Rank 4,573 of 28,275
(18020 zip code includes a portion of Lower Nazareth Township)
Zip Code: 18045Total Contributions $12 million Median Contribution $1,730 Median Discretionary Income $56,496 Percent of Income Given 3.1 percent Total Contributions Rank 3,321 of 28,275
(18045 zip code includes a portion of Lower Nazareth Township)
The Chronicle found other interesting trends. States with large populations of religious people generally give more than those without. “Two of the top nine states – Utah and Idaho – have high numbers of Mormon residents, who have a tradition of tithing at least 10 percent of their income to the church,” a story on the Chronicle website noted. Salt Lake City households, for example, give a median of 9 percent of their discretionary income. All the other states in the top nine are in the Bible Belt.
But, the Chronicle noted, “when religious giving isn’t counted, the geography of giving is very different. Some states in the Northeast jump into the top 10 when secular gifts alone are counted. New York would vault from No. 18 to No. 2, and Pennsylvania would climb from No. 40 to No. 4.”
Red states give more than blue states, the group said. “The eight states where residents gave the highest share of income to charity went for John McCain in 2008,” the story said. “The seven-lowest-ranking states supported Barack Obama.” Red states are Republican dominated and blue states are Democratic dominated.
Here are a few other interesting findings:
- Those in the middle class give a much larger share of their income to charity -- 7.6 percent for Americans earning $50,000-$75,000 -- than the wealthy. Americans making more than $100,000 give an average of 4.2 percent.
- Wealthy people who live in places surrounded by other rich people give less of a share of their incomes than well-off Americans in diverse communities.
- Residents from New England states like New Hampshire and Maine gave the smallest share of their discretionary income and those in Southern states gave the most.
- Tax credits for giving make a big difference in how much people give. Arizona has special tax benefits for those who donate and charities are receiving more than $100 million each year.