Area Residents Give More Than $15 Million to Charities
But a study by The Journal of Philanthropy finds most give a smaller percentage of income than in other areas.
From local charities to school clubs, local residents face a steady barrage of requests for charitable giving, and according to a study published Monday in “The Chronicle of Philanthropy,” local residents gave more than $15 million in 2011.
The study is based on Internal Revenue Service records of those who itemized deductions. It was a six-month long data research study, and ranks the generosity of all 50 states, all 366 metropolitan areas and every zip code in America.
The study ranks Watchung at 2000 out of 28,725 communities, and Green Brook in 5,686, in total giving. When looking at the average contributions, Watchung residents kicked in $4,600, while Green Brook residents gave $1,863.
As a percentage of their discretionary incomes, however, the towns are nearly equal: Green Brook residents' average of 3 percent vs. Watchung's 3.1 percent. Both are below the county average of 4 percent, and the state average of 3.7 percent.
In comparison, the average percentage in the United States is 4.7 percent given, or about $2,564 for an average income of $54,783. In New Jersey, the average is 3.7 percent, or $2,181 out of $59,113, and in Somerset County, the average is 4 percent, or $2,366 out of $59,578.
In total, the findings, according to the study, found that throughout the country lower-income people give bigger shares of their discretionary incomes to charities than wealthier people. And those who make between $50,000 and $75,000 gave an average of 7.6 percent of their discretionary incomes, as opposed to 4.2 percent for people who make $100,000 or more.
In addition, the study found that New Jersey is one of the least generous states, along with New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, although it ranked eighth in the nation in total contributions.
The Journal of Philanthropy created an interactive map of the study's findings, which provides additional detail.