In the latest nationwide study conducted to find which cities in the United States are the most generous, El Paso, Texas, came out on top, with most of the top five coming out of the South and Midwest.
In its study conducted to uncover the 50 most generous cites in America, the Barna Group set out to find the percentage of adult residents over the past decade who donated any money to charities and nonprofit organizations –including churches and religious organizations.
Stacking them up
Here is what the nonprofit Christian research organization found after interviewing 76,505 American adults, with the order of the city rankings beginning with the most generous:
- El Paso, Texas/Las Cruces, New Mexico – 92 percent
- Lexington, Kentucky – 91 percent
- Memphis, Tennessee – 90 percent
- Charleston-Huntington, West Virginia – 90 percent
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin – 89 percent
- Cincinnati, Ohio – 88 percent
- Des Moines-Ames, Iowa – 87 percent
- Columbus, Ohio – 86 percent
- New Orleans, Louisiana – 86 percent
- Norfolk/Portsmouth/Newport News, Virginia – 86 percent
- Greensville/Spartanburg/Anderson, South Carolina/Ashville, North Carolina – 86 percent
- Richmond/Petersburg, Virginia – 86 percent
- Indianapolis, Indiana – 85 percent
- Huntsville-Decatur-Florence, Alabama – 85 percent
- Portland, Oregon – 85 percent
- Cedar Rapids-Waterloo, Iowa – 85 percent
- Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Michigan – 85 percent
- Raleigh-Durham-Fayetville, North Carolina – 85 percent
- Green Bay-Appleton, Wisconsin – 85 percent
- Champaign/Springfield/Decatur, Illinois – 84 percent
- Buffalo, New York – 84 percent
- Providence, Rhode Island/New Bedford, Massachusetts – 84 percent
- Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem, North Carolina – 84 percent
- Columbia, South Carolina – 83 percent
- Madison, Wisconsin – 83 percent
- Mobile, Alabama/Pensacola/Fort Walton, Florida – 82 percent
- Atlanta, Georgia – 82 percent
- St. Louis, Missouri – 82 percent
- Freson-Visalia, California – 82 percent
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – 82 percent
- Chicago, Illinois – 82 percent
- Portland-Auburn, Maine – 82 percent
- Las Vegas, Nevada – 81 percent
- Louisville, Kentucky – 81 percent
- Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas – 81 percent
- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania – 81 percent
- Denver, Colorado – 81 percent
- Baltimore, Maryland – 81 percent
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – 81 percent
- San Antonio, Texas – 81 percent
- Syracuse, New York – 81 percent
- Albany-Schenectady-Troy, New York – 81 percent
- Birmingham/Anniston/Tuscaloosa, Alabama – 80 percent
- Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota, Florida – 80 percent
- Rochester, New York – 80 percent
- Charlotte, North Carolina – 80 percent
- Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota – 80 percent
- Roanoke-Lynchburg, Virginia – 80 percent
- Dayton, Ohio – 79 percent
- Washington, D.C./Hagerstown, Maryland – 79 percent
Breaking it down
Taking a closer look at the top five cities and how they donated their money by socio-economic status, Barna found that those with little tended to give more than those with plenty.
“For the El Paso, Texas/Las Cruces, N.M. area, only 7 percent were considered ‘upscale’ (adults with an annual household income of $75,000 or more and who do hold a college degree), compared to 13 percent ‘downscale’ (adults with an annual household income of $20,000 or less and who do not hold a college degree),” Barna researchers divulged.
Interpreting the findings, it is maintained that more expendable income does not interpret into more charitable giving for Americans.
“This goes to show that the most generous cities aren’t necessarily the most wealthy,” Barna asserted.
The trend of a greater percentage of Americans with lower incomes contributing their money to charities than those with higher incomes is supported by the numbers.
“For example, all but one of the top five cities had larger downscale populations than upscale: Lexington, Ky. (11 percent upscale vs. 18 percent downscale), Memphis, Tenn. (11 percent vs. 25 percent), Charleston-Huntington, W.Va. (9 percent vs. 15 percent), Milwaukee, Wis. (12 percent vs. 10 percent),” the results showed.
Tithes and church donations
When specifically talking church giving, it was found that an overwhelming majority of adults from the top five cities direct their charitable giving toward churches.
Approximately 87 percent of adults in El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, N.M., give to churches, compared to 84 percent in Lexington, Ky., 69 percent in Memphis, Tenn., 64 percent in Charleston and Huntington, W.Va., and 73 percent in Milwaukee, Wis.
An overall picture
When looking at overall giving geographically in the United States, it can be deduced that American adults living in certain areas of the country tend to give more than those in others.
Here is breakdown by the five major regions of the United States:
- Southeast – 18
- Midwest – 14
- Northeast – 10
- Southwest – 4
- West – 4
Even though there are many exceptions, statistics show that areas tending to have higher percentages of adults attending and giving to churches are the most generous in America.