There was a great show on 20/20 tonight called “Cheap in America.” The show detailed a lot of facts about exactly who gives money to charity. The following is a list of my favorite facts:

  • In 25 states where people give an above average percent of their income, 24 were red states in the last presidential election.
  • Conservatives give about 30% more money despite the fact that they often make slightly less money.
  • People who give one thing, tend to be the people who give everything. For example, those who give cash also give blood.
  • People who believe it’s the government’s job to make incomes more equal are far less likely to give their money away.
  • Philanthropy is more efficient than government spending, because when we spend our own money we stop spending when a project doesn’t work.
  • People at the lower end of the income scale give 30% more of their income.
  • The most charitable people in America are the working poor.
  • Compared to the rich and the working poor the middle income Americans give the least.
  • The biggest predictor of whether someone is charitable: Religious Participation
  • Religious individuals are more likely to give, and more likely to give more money to both religious and non-religious charities.
  • Americans give more and volunteer more than the citizens of any other country. 7x more money than those in Germany, 14X more than those in Italy.
  • Americans are anything but cheap, contributions this year totalled 260 billion dollars.