A study from the Chronicle of Philanthropy tracked charitable giving across the United States, down to the ZIP code level. The 2008 data shows people who live in wealthy communities tend to give a lesser portion of their income to charity than people who live in more economically diverse neighborhoods.
Out of sight, out of mind?
A new Chronicle study of tax records shows that of the top 1,000 ZIP codes that give the biggest share of income, only nine are among the nation’s 1,000 richest ZIP codes. In city after city, it’s the low-income residents who lift giving levels.
Paul Piff, a postdoctoral scholar in psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, says he has conducted studies showing that as wealth increases, people become more insulated, less likely to engage with others, and less sensitive to the suffering of others.
Does this hold true for Monroe County’s communities? The short answer is yes.
On average, Monroe County residents gave 5.3 percent of their income to charity in 2008, amounting to a total of $296.9 million. The median contribution was $2,183. Monroe County ranks in the middle of the pack nationally on gift-giving.
Residents of the Rochester’s more diverse neighborhoods who filed tax returns gave a greater percentage of their incomes to charity than those who live in the more affluent suburbs. However, residents of affluent suburbs gave far more money as a whole.
Here are some of the ZIP codes, the percentage of the income that went to charity, the median amount of the gift, and the national rank of charitable giving a percentage of income:
Rochester, 14604 (Downtown) – 8.2 percent, $4,329, 2,406
Rochester, 14608 (Corn Hill) – 7.9 percent, $2,551, 2,702
Rochester, 14621 (Northeast), 7.7 percent, $2,742, 3,036
Rochester, 14611 (West side) – 7.3 percent, $2,536, 3663
Rochester, 14610 (Browncroft) – 5.6 percent, $3,235, 7,744
Brighton, 14618 – 4.9 percent, $3,217, 10,382
Greece, 14626, 4.8 percent, $1,947, 11,202
Rochester, 14620 (Highland area) – 4.5 percent, $1,861, 12,588
Pittsford, 14634 – 4.3 percent, $3,227, 13,729
Henrietta, 14467 – 3.9 percent, $1,932, 16,331
Webster, 14580 – 3.7 percent, $2,157, 17,800
Irondequoit, 14617 – 3.6 percent, $1,748, 18,429
Honeoye Falls, 14472 – 3.6 percent, $2,450, 18,450
Victor, 14564 – 3.2 percent, $2,244, 21,086
The data is interesting, but I’m not sure it’s an indictment on the wealthy. For one thing, they pay more in taxes to support those who are less fortunate. Also, as a whole they gave far more to charity. Pittsford alone gave $44 million in 2008. However, for some people, perhaps it’s a reminder they could do more.
What are your thoughts about the study?
Links of the Day:
– Monroe County is among those ordered by the state to assist Puerto Rican voters on Election Day.
– Pier 45 continues to be a drain on taxpayers. If this was a private venture, it would have closed long ago.
– My parents had a bat in the house a couple days ago. People are seeing more of them this summer.
– Wild geese are “terrorizing” some Buffalo area residents.
– Western New York has a haven for people who claim to talk to the dead.