In Seal Beach, people gave a median $3,337 to charity in 2008, according to a study released on Aug. 20 by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Compared to the average Orange County resident, who donated 4.0 percent of their total income to charity, Seal Beach contributed slightly more -- 5.6 percent of total income, more than the average Californian, who donated 4.4 percent.
Those in Seal Beach earning between $50,000 and $99,999 donated an average of 12.5 percent of their income to charity, while those earning over $100,000 to $199,999 gave 4.8 percent.
Seal Beach residents who earned $200,000 or more gave an average of 3 percent.
In total, city residents gave about $22.2 million to charity in 2008, and Orange County donated about $1.9 billion to charity.
The study was based on Internal Revenue Service records from 2008 of Americans who itemized deductions. It gives ZIP-code level detail about the percentage of discretionary income that people gave to charity.
The IRS releases total amounts donated, but to protect privacy, the agency does not provide data about the specific charities people supported. Because of discrepancies in the data for people with income below $50,000, The Chronicle’s study includes only taxpayers who reported incomes of $50,000 or more. Readers can use the online edition of this report to find detailed breakdowns, by income level, showing the percentage of income donated by people in various income brackets for each ZIP code.
The study found:
- States that voted Republican in the last presidential election are far more likely to be generous to charities than those that voted Democratic. The top eight states in giving preferred John McCain over Barack Obama.
- Utah was the No. 1 state in giving at 10.6 percent, with Salt Lake City as the most giving city. By contrast, residents in Massachusetts and three other New England states give less than 3 percent. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey and Rhode Island are the least-generous states.
- California ranked No. 25 out of the 50 entries with $17.2 billion total contributions and a median contribution of $2,396.
- Lower-income people give a far bigger share of their income to charities than the wealthy.
- Rich people who live in areas with mostly wealthy people give a smaller share of their incomes to charity than rich people in economically diverse areas.
- Regions that are deeply religious give more than those that are not. Two of the top 10 states—Utah and Idaho—have high numbers of Mormons, who tithe more consistently than other churches. The other states in the top 10 are all in the so-called Bible Belt.
The Chronicle website also features an interactive map looking at how America gives.
Patch Editors David Carini and Christa Bigue contributed to this report.