Utah – Americans are known internationally as a nation of givers (although many complain the gifts come with strings, but that’s another story). In fact, 95.4% of American households donate to charities, contributing an average of $2,974 a year.
The U.S. was ranked second on the 2015 World Giving Index, and based on data from the National Philanthropic Trust, Americans donated over $338 billion to charities, and more than 72% of that came from individuals.
As WalletHub’s Richie Bernardo points out, there is more to charity than just giving money. Giving time is also a charitable endeavor, and approximately 63 million Americans volunteered with an organization at least once between September 2013 and September 2014.
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Financial and demographic research firm WalletHub published a report in early December that listed the most “charitable” of the 50 U.S. states. The methodology of the ranking in the list involved compiling eight key metrics, including volunteer rate, the percentage of the population who donated time and money and the median contribution to charity, for all 50 states.
Utah tops list of most charitable U.S. states
Utah is by far the most charitable state according to WalletHub’s ranking system. With a total score of 45.88, Utah composite charitable index score is 25% higher than second place finisher Maryland (36.46), and well over double last place finisher Rhode Island. Coming in third place on WalletHub’s 2015 Most Charitable states list was Idaho with a composite score of 34.26. Oregon was ranked as the fourth most charitable U.S. state in 2015, with a charitable index score of 34.16. South Dakota came in fifth on the list this year, with a total score of 33.68.
Bottom five least charitable states
Kentucky was ranked No. 46 on WalletHub’s 2015 list of the most charitable U.S. states, and had a total composite score of 22.78. Arizona came in 47th on this year’s list, with a total charitable index score of 22.70. Somewhat surprisingly, California came in third to last on the most charitable states list with a total score of just 22.15. Louisiana and Rode Island bring up the rear of the 2015 list, with depressingly low scores of 20.47 and 20.23, respectively.
Detailed breakdown by state
The WalletHub report also offered a more detailed breakdown of the results of their survey:
Of note, Utah, Wisconsin and Kansas had the highest volunteer rate, and Florida, New York and Louisiana had the lowest volunteer rate.
Utah, Mississippi and Alabama saw the highest percentage of income donated, while the misers in Maine, New Jersey and New Hampshire donated the lowest percentage of their income to charity.
Utah, Minnesota and New Hampshire have the highest percentage of people who claim to have donated their time last year, whereas Rhode Island, Nevada and Kentucky have the least number of residents who claim to have donated time this year.
Utah, Illinois and New Hampshire have the highest percentage of people who claim to have donated money this year, while Arkansas, Kentucky and North Carolina have the fewest people who claim to have donated money last year.
Alaska, Massachusetts and Maine enjoy the highest number of charities per capita, whereas Mississippi, Utah and Nevada have the lowest number of charity organizations per capita. One factor to point out – states which have lower taxes seem to donate more and vice versa – so it could also be an issue of disposable income.