America’s Least and Most Charitable States

Photo (cc) by HowardLake

‘Tis the season for giving, but apparently Nevadans didn’t get the memo.

Nevada is the least charitable state in the U.S., according to WalletHub, which recently ranked the country’s most and least charitable states based on eight metrics, including: volunteer rate, median contribution to charity, percentage of residents who donated time and money, and growth in charitable giving.

The most charitable state is Utah, which ranked first in five of the eight categories, but ranked second to last for the number of charities per capita.

“The Mormon tradition of tithing is a primary reason residents of [Utah] well outpace those in every other place in America,” says The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

In general, Americans like to give. More than 95 percent of U.S. households donate to charitable organizations, WalletHub said.

In 2013 alone, Americans gave more than $335 billion, 72 percent of which came directly from individuals. Of course, being charitable isn’t all about donating money to the needy. Earlier this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nearly 63 million people volunteered with an organization at least once between September 2012 and September 2013.

The top five most charitable states are:

  • Utah.
  • South Dakota.
  • Idaho (tied for third).
  • Kansas (tied for third).
  • Nebraska.

The five least charitable states are:

  • Nevada.
  • West Virginia.
  • Kentucky.
  • New Jersey.
  • Arizona.

When deciding where to give, you can research charitable organizations at sites like Charity Navigator and GuideStar.

However, Cassady Brewer, assistant professor of law at Georgia State University College of Law, also offered this advice:

Choose a mission that resonates with you. DO NOT either rule in or rule out charities based upon some arbitrary financial measurement like “overhead ratios.” Those ratios are misleading and easily manipulated by charitable organizations.

Montana, my home state, is ranked as the country’s seventh most charitable state.

How did your state rank? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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