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Do red states give more to charity than blue states?

Reuters says, "[r]ed states give more money to charity than blue states, according to a new study" (link, [1]). Just one problem: that's not true. In fact, blue states gave over twice as much in dollar terms than red (depending on the blue/red definition).

The study in question is by the Chronicle of Philanthropy and while it shows that those in several red states give more as a percentage of their total income to charity, blue states give more in absolute dollar terms than red states. The margin depends on how you define red and blue; see below.

A state-by-state table is here, and Erika Johnsen of HotAir discusses it in the completely expected way here.

The study shows Utah residents giving 10.6% of their income, followed by Mississippi (7.2%), Alabama (7.1%), Tennessee (6.6%), and so on.

While those are the highest percentages, in actual dollar terms residents of California give more than than the top eight percentage givers combined (Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Idaho, Arkansas, and Georgia).

Not only does California give more in dollar terms to charity than those red and mostly Southern states, but California has helped prop up several of those states by giving billions upon billions more to the federal government than it's received back.

But, wait, there's more. If you define a "red state" as one that John McCain won in 2008, then blue states gave over twice as much to charity as red states: $94.8 billion for blue versus $40.6 billion for red (both rounded up). The list of such blue states is at [2].

But, let's define a red state more broadly, and remove from the list at [2] these states: Nevada, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Hampshire, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and North Carolina. Even after doing that, blue states lead with $73.2 billion versus $62.0 billion for the modified list of red states.

If you go even further and switch Florida from blue to red, only then do the red states pull into the lead. In that case, blue states gave $65.8 billion, and red states $69.5 billion. That assumes that only the 19 states listed in [3] are blue.

If you'd like to chart this for yourself, see the spreadsheet here.

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[1] By Mackenzie Weinger of Reuters.

[2] This is the list of states that Obama won in 2008:
Hawaii
Vermont
Rhode Island
Massachusetts
New York
Maryland
Illinois
Delaware
California
Connecticut
Maine
Oregon
Washington
Michigan
New Jersey
New Mexico
Wisconsin
Nevada
Minnesota
Pennsylvania
Iowa
New Hampshire
Colorado
Virginia
Ohio
Florida
Indiana
North Carolina

[3] One way to give red states the edge is to winnow the number of blue states down to just these 19:
Hawaii
Vermont
Rhode Island
Massachusetts
New York
Maryland
Illinois
Delaware
California
Connecticut
Maine
Oregon
Washington
Michigan
New Jersey
New Mexico
Wisconsin
Minnesota
Colorado

Other tags: texas

Mon, 08/20/2012 - 16:33 · Importance: 4