Lehigh County folks, you're a little off target with what America gives to charity every year.
That's according to an interactive map released by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, which looked at 2008 charitable contributions claimed by Americans making over $50,000 a year.
Overall, county residents gave on average 3.5 percent of their discretionary income to charity, slightly below the state average of 3.9 percent. The United States on average gave 4.7 percent of its discretionary income. Utah is the most generous state, donating 10.6 percent of discretionary income. New Hampshire is the stingiest, donating just 2.5 percent.
Lehigh County gave $123.7 million overall in charitable contributions in 2008, an average of $1,937 per household.
There was a large range throughout Patch-land, with the highest percentage of contributions coming from South Whitehall at 3.9 percent, a total of $26.4 million. On the other end of the scale, Upper Macungie residents gave only 2.9 percent of discretionary income annually, which totaled $2.1 million.
Here's a sampling of how Lehigh County measured up:
Patch Area (Zip Code)
Percent of Income Given
Total Contributions3.9 percent $26.4 million 3.8 percent $15.9 million 3.6 percent $12.5 million 3.6 percent $7.5 million 3.5 percent $8.3 million 2.9 percent $2.1 million
Here are a few other interesting findings:
-- Those in the middle class give a much larger share of their income to charity – 7.6 percent for Americans earning $50,000-$75,000 – than the wealthy. Americans making more than $100,000 give an average of 4.2 percent.
-- Wealthy people who live in places surrounded by other rich people give less of a share of their incomes than well-off Americans in diverse communities.
-- Residents from New England states like New Hampshire and Maine gave the smallest share of their discretionary income and those in Southern states gave the most.
-- Tax credits for giving make a big difference in how much people give. Arizona has special tax benefits for those who donate and charities are receiving more than $100 million each year.