Hartford Region Ranks 49th Among 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas in Charitable Giving

The average percentage of income given to charity by residents of the Hartford metropolitan region ranked 49th among the top 50 largest metropolitan regions, according to a new survey by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.  Only residents of the metropolitan Providence, Rhode Island region donated less. Greater Hartford residents, on average, donated 1.9 percent of their income to charity according to the analysis.  The average amount given, among those itemizing gifts, was $2,994.  The total in Itemized contributions among the region’s 1.2 million people was $600 million.

In Providence, $600 million was donated with an average gift of $2,748, or 1.8 percent of individual income.  The Providence region includes 1.6 million people.

Both cities are among the 60 of America's 100 largest metropolitan areas that give less than the national average of 3.1 percent.

The Chronicle used 2015 Internal Revenue Service data on individuals who earn $50,000 or more annually and who itemize charitable deductions on their income-tax returns to create a snapshot of giving in every county and metropolitan area in the country. Only donations of taxpayers who took a deduction are included, the publication noted. The key measure, according to the Chronicle, is the giving ratio: the total of a locality’s charitable contributions as a share of its total adjusted gross income.

The metropolitan regions with the largest average percentage of income to charity:  Memphis (5.6%), Salt Lake City (5.5%), Birmingham (5.4%), Atlanta (4.6%), San Jose (4.6%), Jacksonville (4.2%), Nashville (4.0%), and Oklahoma City (4.0%).

Five years previously, in 2012, Hartford ranked last among the 50 largest metropolitan regions.  The giving rate that year was also 1.9 percent, reflecting an 89.9 percent decline in giving rate since 2006.  Providence was 49th that year.

Overall in 2015, only 24 percent of taxpayers reported on their tax returns that they made a charitable gift according to the new analysis of Internal Revenue Service data. A decade earlier that figure routinely reached 30 or 31 percent, the Chronicle pointed out. Study authors suspect the numbers come from economic fears in the wake of the Great Recession, and a higher cost of living.