Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Blue New England Keeps Pocket Closed When It Comes to Charity

Perhaps the cultural assumption that the government should be the conduit of charity colors this report, but it seems that based on a combination of income vs. donations, New England as a group has the tightest fist (and was the most blue area on the map), while Red Mississippi, even though poor, is the most generous based on the same formula.

HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut ranks first when it comes to making money - but joins New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island at the bottom of an annual index of charitable giving.

The Catalogue for Philanthropy's 2004 Generosity Index showed Mississippi, for the eighth straight year, as the nation's most giving state. It was followed by Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama and Tennessee.

The survey is based on residents' average adjusted income and itemized charitable donations reported on 2002 federal tax returns, the latest year available.

The index does not take into account non-itemized giving or volunteering, said Carol Schofield of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy.

Connecticut has the nation's highest average adjusted gross income, at $64,724; its residents donate $175 less to charity than the national average of $3,455. That ranks Connecticut 44th on the index, a slip of seven places from last year.

Connecticut was followed by Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and, at No. 50 on the index, New Hampshire.

Among the top givers, rounding out spots seven through 10 were South Dakota, Utah, South Carolina and Idaho.

The latest index reflects a country still coping with an economic slump - the national average gross income in 2002 dropped nearly 2.4 percent to $45,953. Despite the drop in income, the average individual donation fell less than 1 percent.

Exceptions to the trend were found in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, where the decline in giving exceeded the decline in income.

Mississippi - the poorest state in the nation - consistently earns its place as No. 1 on the list by generating the greatest disparity in income and charitable contributions.

The average itemized filer in Mississippi reported $4,484 in donations in 2002. That beats the national average by $1,029.

The Massachusetts-based Catalogue for Philanthropy publishes a directory of nonprofit organizations. It created the index seven years ago


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