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How Much Do Aliso Viejo Residents Give to Charity?

A new study says locals are stingier than the rest of Orange County and California.

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.

Green Mavin August 28, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Perhaps Aliso Viejo residents give more, but are so charitable that they do not report it to the IRS for a deduction. Did you consider that?
Charles August 28, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Those folks are balanced by those (of us) who report more charitable donations (without receipts) to the IRS than we really give.
Capo Parent Too August 29, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Of course states like Utah show high charitable giving because they TITHE and Churches are lumped together as charitable organizations. There is a large Mormon population in Utah. Giving to your Church goes to running the Church etc. and may not go to actually feeding the hungry, clothing people etc. Is there anything wrong with giving to your Church, of course not, but it will tip the scale in favor of Republicans who tend to be Christian. Just wanted to point this out. So how do we define Charitable giving?
Charles August 29, 2012 at 02:33 AM
"Is there anything wrong with giving to your Church" I suppose it depends on what "wrong" means. If "wrong" means wasting (your) money, then yes, there is something wrong. If "wrong" means giving to the church in order to score points with whatever god you believe in, then yes, that selfish act might be wrong.
Capo Parent Too August 29, 2012 at 02:42 AM
"A look at how faith impacts charitable giving. More religious states had higher rates of giving, but when donations to religious institutions were stripped out, non-religious states moved up in the ranks." Second chart points this out.

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