The most generous churchgoers in the United States live in the middle of Idaho, while the second-most generous church members reside in two small towns in eastern Iowa, according to a new Barna report.
Barna this month released data showing where the most generous practicing Christians live in the U.S. – both in annual church giving and annual non-profit giving.
The Pocatello/Idaho Falls/Jackson, Idaho, region ranked first in both categories, with an annual $15,601 given by practicing Christians to churches and an annual $17,977 in Christian non-profit giving. (The latter number includes church giving.)
Ottumwa/Kirksville, Iowa, ranked second ($9,600) in church giving, while Las Vegas ($10,410) was second in nonprofit giving.
Idaho’s giving spirit has been featured in several media reports, including in a 2014 story on Boise State Public Radio when Idaho finished third in a survey of most generous states.
“Individuals jump in when the call goes out when something or someone needs help,” said Nora Carpenter of the United Way of the Treasure Valley. “Part of that is ‘I have a stake in my community and it takes all of us to move us forward.’ I think we have some pioneer pride that hangs on.”
Boise State Public Radio gave two possible reasons for the state’s high ranking in generosity surveys: its high Latter Day Saints population and its low-income demographic. The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the radio station noted, “has found low-income people give a higher share of their incomes to charity compared with wealthy people.”
Barna’s full Top 10 lists are below:
- Pocatello / Idaho Falls / Jackson, ID: $15,601
- Ottumwa / Kirksville, IA: $9,600
- Victoria, TX: $8,984
- Jonesboro, AR: $7,999
- Las Vegas, NV: $5,379
- North Platte, NE: $5,235
- Scottsbluff / Cheyenne, NE: $5,000
- Wheeling / Steubenville, WV: $4,663
- Selma / Montgomery, AL: $4,544
- Nashville, TN: $4,433
- Pocatello / Idaho Falls /Jackson, ID: $17,977
- Las Vegas, NV: $10,410
- Victoria, TX: $10,375
- Ottumwa, Kirksville, IA: $10,000
- Jonesboro, AR: $7,999
- Twin Falls, ID: $7,636
- North Platte, NE: $6,764
- Lake Charles, LA: $6,200
- Salisbury, MD: $6,125
- Wheeling / Steubenville, WV: $5,735
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Alexander Mils/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.