Conventional wisdom says New Englanders are flinty, tough-minded, independent. Now you can add generous to that profile.
Nearly three-quarters of the region’s residents give to charity — a share higher than in any other part of the country, according to a new analysis. New Englanders, along with residents of the Mountain-region states, are also tops in volunteerism, at 35 percent.
The new study, by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, does more than establish "most generous" bragging rights. It’s a first-of-its-kind longitudinal analysis of household giving, drawing on a gold-standard survey of 9,000 households conducted nationwide every two years since 2000.
Lilly followed this study with a report using the same data to focus on religious giving.
The topline results are discouraging. The share of Americans who give to charity has dropped across all ages and education and incomes levels. From 2000 to 2014, the proportion of American households that gave declined from 66.2 percent to 55.5 percent.
The falloff in religious giving is particularly significant. Only 34 percent of households gave to a house of worship or religious organization in 2014, down from 46 percent in 2004.
Other insights about the American donor in the 21st century:
Boomers Aren't so Reliable
About 58 percent of households led by 51-to 60-year-olds gave in 2014, down to 20 percentage points from 2000.
Women Beat Men
Half of single women give to charity compared with only 36 percent of their male counterparts. Single women donors on average also give more each year: $1,455, compared with $1,341 for men.
Millennials and Religion
Only 13 percent of adults under 30 give to religious causes, but their average annual giving (in 2012, the latest year reported) was nearly $1,500.
Heartland Kids Are Beloved
Residents of the western states of the Mid-west — the Dakotas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska — earmarked 7 percent of their giving for organizations serving youths and children, the tops in the country.
Arts Shine in the Mid-Atlantic Area
About 4 percent of giving in this region went to the arts, the highest proportion in the nation and a likely byproduct of the prominence of New York culture.
New England Is Head of the Class
On average, 18 percent of contributions in this region went to education — the biggest share nationwide. Another 15 percent went to answer society's basic needs, which was also a top figure.
--From Philanthropy Today