Several studies show that those with very high incomes give a smaller percentage of their income to charity than those with lower incomes.
No doubt some of the wealthy give a hefty percentage of their wealth to charity. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and 38 others among the very rich formed a pact to donate at least half of their wealth to charity. However, statistics show that on average the wealthy do not donate as high a percentage of their income to charity as the less well off.
Judith Warner in the New York Times reports that Americans who earn less than $25,000 a year donate 4.2% of their income on charity on average. On the other hand those who earn more than $75,000 give only 2.7%.
Households that earn between $50,000 U.S. and $75,000 a year, on average, give 7.6% of there post-tax and post-living expenses income to charities. Households earning $200,000 a year or more donate only 4%. However, people with high incomes who live close to people with low incomes give more than those with high incomes who live in isolated wealthy area according to a report on NPR.
According to another study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy that analyzed charitable donations as related to ZIP codes, only nine of 1,000 most generous areas were among the richest 1,000 ZIP codes. The study also noted that in areas where rich people were highly concentrated giving in terms of income percentage was quite low. The report found that in neighborhoods where more than 40 percent of taxpayers reported earning $200,000 or more, the average giving was just 2.8 percent of discretionary income.
In 1906 ZIP code areas where at least 10 taxpayers earned $200,000 or more none of those taxpayers reported giving to charity! Almost eighty per cent of those areas were outside metropolitan areas indicating that the residents may not have had much contact with problems of the poor. Actually there is often plenty of poverty in rural areas as well. Buffett and Gates are the exceptions rather than the rule when it comes to charity among the rich.
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