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Churches Receive Majority of Charitable Gifts in U.S.

The most generous U.S. cities are located in the South and Midwest, with the majority of donations going to churches, according to a Barna Group analysis.

Texas, New Mexico, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin were home to the most generous U.S. cities.

El Paso, Texas, and its neighbor, Las Cruces, New Mexico, were the most generous U.S. cities with 92 percent of residents making charitable gifts.

Louisville, Kentucky, was second at 91 percent, followed by Memphis, Tennessee, (90 percent), Charleston-Huntington, West Virginia, (90 percent), and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, (89 percent).

“The most generous cities aren’t necessarily the most wealthy,” Barna observed. “All but one of the top five cities had larger downscale [household income under $20,000] populations than upscale [household income over $75,000].”

The El Paso-La Cruces area had 13 percent “downscale” population compared to 7 percent “upscale.” The ratio in Lexington was 18 to 11, in Memphis 25 to 11, in Charleston-Huntington 15 to 9 and in Milwaukee 10 to 12.

A majority in most cities directed their charitable gifts to local churches, Barna found.

For example, 87 percent of all charitable givers in El Paso-La Cruces donated to churches, 84 percent in Lexington, 69 percent in Memphis, 64 percent in Charleston-Huntington and 73 percent in Milwaukee.

The full report is available here.