The most generous states in America: Republican and religious

Surveys have shown this phenomena before, but this study by The Chronicle of Philanthropy seems very thorough.

ABC News:

Which states are more generous about giving money to charities? Red or blue states? A report by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, "How America Gives," uses the most recent available IRS data from 2008 to find out.

The answer, according to the report, is that people in Republican-leaning states give somewhat more, mostly because of religious ties. The Chronicle studied individual tax returns and studied demographic characteristics such as religion and political affiliation. The report found that states that were in favor of the 2008 presidential candidate John McCain gave higher percentages of discretionary income toward charities.

Click for a map of how much states give to charities.

The state of Utah, where a majority of residents are Mormon and encouraged to give ten percent of their income to the church, had the highest percentage, 10.6 percent. Residents in Utah had an estimated median discretionary income of $49,551, or after taxes, housing, food, and other living expenses.

Of the top 5 most charitable states, only Washington, D.C. - which isn't a state at all -- made the rankings. Utah was first:

The state of Utah shows how important religion is to giving, said Peter Panepento, the Chronicle of Philanthropy's assistant managing editor. In Utah, the estimated median contribution was $5,255, as reported to the IRS on itemized tax returns.

The states and communities that tended to give the highest percentage of income to charity were those with high rates of religious participation.

"Utah, far and away, has given the most to charity, with its strong tie to the Mormon religion," he said.

Many religions, including the Mormon faith, encourage or direct believers to give 10 percent, or tithe, from their income to the church.

Utah was followed by Washington, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.Utah topped the list with 10.6% of median income given to charity. By contrast, true blue Massachusetts gave only 2.8%.

Don't you wish those conservatives weren't so heartless and uncaring about the poor?