Best Locations for Giving: State Rankings

Do you live in a city of givers?  Or takers? This is the proud papa post with a location twist.  My oldest son Robby was featured in an article today on Kids and Philanthropy.  Here’s the link to a provoking piece by Lisa Lori on babycenter’s mom section:

Which got papa thinking, I’ve always assumed that we inhabitants of San Francisco are always volunteering and giving, but do we really rank that high as a “giving location?”  How does my location rank compared to other cities and states in philanthropic endeavors?  Are there pockets of giving among Americans (the extent of my geofence on this subject)?  Do those in the Midwest give as much as the snowbirds in Florida or the bankers in New York?

It took some digging but I uncovered some fascinating location-based statistics on giving in America.  The non-profit website has amassed a rich trove of research, with some parsed by location.

Indeed, Location Matters™ even in giving.  The CLO summary:

Good news:  despite the recession, Americans are still giving.  The economic crisis continues to test the nation’s ability to support some of the most vulnerable populations.  Research at shows that despite all the additional stresses of a difficult economy, the nation experienced the largest single-year increase in volunteering since 2003.

Bad News: Giving isn’t stemming the increased needs.  There are many challenges that face our nation, including, for example, the 14.1 million children living in poverty, the 3.5 million Americans with no place to live, and the 700,000 prisoners released from federal and state jurisdiction annually.

Best States for Giving: The Mormons are off the charts giving.  Utah ranks #1 by an 2-1 margin over the #2 ranked state, Iowa, on a per capita basis.  Overall the Midwest states are the biggest givers.  And Alaska is up there, when the cash really is cold and hard.

Worst State for Giving:  New York.  With New Jersey not far behind.  Nevada is ranked second to last, probably because folks rather give to slot machines, not food banks, in Las Vegas.

Best Cities for Giving: Minnepolis, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Oklahoma City , OK

Worst Cities for Giving: Miami, New York City, Las Vegas, Riverside and Los Angeles.

Link to state and city ranking here:

How did Robby Gerber, in the article above, rank on a Location Basis?  California, his home state, ranks #46 out of 50 as the best state location for giving in America.  Fortunately, his city, San Francisco, ranks #14 out of 50 as the best city locations for giving.

Robby, thank you for helping to improve our location ranking in philanthropic services.  Your Chief Location Officer, your papa, is very proud.

Click below for more research on trends and locations in American Giving:

Issue Brief (680 KB PDF)

About the Research: hosts the most comprehensive collection of data on volunteering and civic engagement ever assembled. The data is collected through a partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and has been released annually since 2005. The newly enhanced and updated Web site continues to be a rich source of detailed statistics and trend information, allowing nonprofit leaders and policy makers to assemble customized reports for the nation, regions, states and nearly 200 cities.