When it comes to charity, Aliso Viejo residents are a little stingier than other Californians and Orange County residents, a new study has found.
In 2008, Aliso Viejo residents gave a median $2,248 to charity, according to a study released Aug. 20 by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
On average, Aliso residents contributed 4.1 percent of their total income, less than the county and state averages of 4.9 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.
Aliso Viejo residents making $50,000 to $99,999 a year were the biggest givers, donating 7.4 percent of their income, but people making $100,000 and up gave 3.5 percent.
In total, city residents gave about $31.3 million to charity in 2008 (Orange County as a whole donated about $1.9 billion).
The study was based on Internal Revenue Service records from 2008 of Americans who itemized deductions. It gives ZIP-code level detail about the percentage of discretionary income that people gave to charity.
The IRS releases total amounts donated, but to protect privacy does not provide data about the specific charities people supported. Because of discrepancies in the data for people with income below $50,000, The Chronicle’s study included only taxpayers who reported incomes of $50,000 or more. Readers can use the online edition of this report to find detailed breakdowns by income level, showing the percentage of income donated by people in various income brackets for each ZIP code.
The study found:
- States that voted Republican in the last presidential election were far more likely to be generous to charities than those that voted Democratic. The top eight states in giving preferred John McCain over Barack Obama.
- Utah was the No. 1 state in giving at 10.6 percent, with Salt Lake City as the most generous city. By contrast, residents in Massachusetts and three other New England states give less than 3 percent. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey and Rhode Island were the least-generous states.
- California ranked No. 25 out of the 50 entries with $17.2 billion total contributions and a median contribution of $2,396.
- Lower-income people gave a far bigger share of their income to charities than the wealthy.
- Rich people who live in areas with mostly wealthy people gave a smaller share of their incomes than rich people in economically diverse areas.
- Regions that are deeply religious gave more than those that are not. Two of the top 10 states—Utah and Idaho—have high numbers of Mormons, who tithe more consistently than other church members. The other states in the top 10 were all in the so-called Bible Belt.
The Chronicle website features an interactive map looking at how America gives.
-- Patch Editors David Carini and Christa Bigue contributed to this report.