Charity in America: Which States Give the Most?

Recent Gallup polls show correlation between charitable behavior and well-being

May 31, 2014 at 1:00PM

This May, Gallup released poll results from 2013 of people's charitable activity within the last month: financial donations, time volunteered, and both activities combined. Approximately 600 people were interviewed over the phone, and the data was grouped by state. Have a look at the Gallup report to see the results from your area and how it compares to people in other states.

Donation Box

Source: Flickr user, Don DeBold

The results reveal that in New York, Rhode Island, and some other areas, people are more likely to give their money than to dedicate their time. Some states, like Utah, Minnesota, and Hawaii, had more people who both made donations and volunteered. Nevada, Kentucky, and Louisiana, among others, had the lowest percentages of respondents report charitable giving and volunteering -- below 30%.

Overall, this study shows that Americans tend to make charitable donations at pretty good rates: The lowest percentage by state was 57%, and the highest was 71% of respondents. And American giving is generous compared to that of other countries. In a related Gallup study of people in 130 countries that used self-reports of money donated, time volunteered, and providing help to strangers, Gallup created a Civic Engagement Index score, in which the U.S. and Ireland produced the highest score -- 60. To give you an idea of the range, last-ranked Croatia scored 11.

These civic-engagement scores seem to correlate directly to people's well-being. Gallup also did a study of the well-being of Americans in a poll with 178,000 interview respondents. The study asked questions that examined several areas to create a Well-Being Index score, including life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities.

When these two poll results are combined, Gallup concludes that people in states with higher well-being are more likely to give money, time, and assistance to strangers. People with lower well-being scores are in states with the lowest charitable giving. The report observes that, "Although it is possible that giving to others helps foster higher well-being in the individuals taking part in those kinds of activities, it is also possible that citizens with higher well-being are more likely to become active in their communities."

The bottom line is, if you don't live in South Dakota, Minnesota, or another state where well-being and charitable giving are high, you might consider moving there. Regardless, you can simply start right where you are. Give more charitable donations and spend more time volunteering to reap the benefits of greater well-being.

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4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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