CHARITY IN COLORADO: Party politics aside, the poor and lower-middle class consistently give a higher percentage of their income than everyone else.
By Joshua Sharf | WatchdogWire.com
Colorado Republicans are giving somewhat more to charity than Democrats. But the poor and lower-middle class consistently give a higher percentage of their income than everyone else.
A Watchdog Wire Colorado analysis of county-level data from a new Chronicle of Philanthropy study shows a contrast between the 24 counties listed as “Democratic” or “Leaning Democratic” and 35 counties categorized as “Republican” or “Leaning Republican” by the study. Tax returns (2012) from the Democratic counties show residents giving just under 3 percent of their adjusted gross income to charitable causes, while the Republican counties contributed 3.5 percent.
This result is statistically significant, with 95 percent reliability. The analysis excluded Republican-leaning Cheyenne County, which, at nearly 11 percent charitable giving, appears to have been unduly influenced by a small number of generous wealthy givers.
A simpler test, just ranking the counties in order of generosity, produces a similar result.
While there’s a loose link to population, with smaller counties appearing to give slightly more, there’s virtually no correlation between a county’s median income and its generosity, with both poorer and wealthy counties giving both more and less. For instance, both Boulder and Douglas counties give within .1 percent of the state’s average of 2.73 percent, but both have median incomes over $100,000. Likewise, two counties, Saguache and Crowley, have similar populations (near 6000), similar median income levels (both near $52,000), but opposition politics (Democrat and Republican, respectively), and rank 6th and 8th in giving, respectively.