Salt Lake City, Detroit Rank First in Generosity

A new study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy finds that residents of Salt Lake City and Detroit give a larger percentage of their income to charity than do people in other metropolitan areas of the country, the Associated Press reports.

The study, which analyzed federal returns from taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of at least $50,000 who itemize their deductions, found that the Salt Lake City-Ogden region ranked first among the fifty largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., with residents giving 14.9 percent of their discretionary income to charity, while among the fifty largest cities, Detroit came out on top, with Motor City residents donating 12.1 percent of their income, followed by New York and Fort Worth. The three least generous metropolitan areas were all in New England, with residents of last-place Hartford giving only 4.7 percent of their discretionary income to charitable causes.

The study cited race and religious participation as factors in regional giving patterns. African Americans gave 25 percent more to charity than whites, for example, a fact that explains the strong showing of Detroit, where four out of five middle- and upper-income residents are African American, while in the heavily Mormon Salt Lake City-Ogden area, a large proportion of charitable giving was in the form of religious tithing. By contrast, New England has lower church participation rates than other parts of the country, and New Englanders tend to belong to churches with less stringent donation requirements.

Harvey Lipman. "Detroit, Salt Lake City Top Generosity Lists." Chronicle of Philanthropy 05/01/2003. "Yankees' Reputation as Frugal Holds True in Charitable Giving." Associated Press 04/28/2003.