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Oakton Ranks Below Average in Charitable Donations

Residents in 22124 ZIP code give under 4 percent of income, based on 2008 IRS tax returns

Oakton residents give a lower percentage of their income to charity than the rest of the state, according to a recent study.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy published data this weekend on how much residents of every ZIP code in the U.S. donate to charity, based on 2008 IRS tax return information. 

Whereas Virginians gave an average of 4.8 percent of their income — higher than the 4.7 percent national average by a tenth — residents in the 22124 ZIP code, which encompasses most of Oakton, gave 3.7 percent of their median discretionary income of $123,175, which amounts to $4,516.

Oakton also ranks below the average for Fairfax County, which stands at 5 percent.

Overall, people in Northern Virginia tend to give a smaller percentage of their income to charity than people in the southern and western parts of Virginia.

In contrast, there are several counties in southern Virginia where charitable giving averages more than 9 percent of income. These include Brunswick, Halifax, Pittsylvania, Henry, Grayson and Bath counties.  

Political and Religious Affiliations

The Chronicle’s study showed that people in states that voted Republican in the 2008 election were more generous with their money than residents of states that voted Democrat.

Of the top 10 most generous states — Utah, D.C., Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Idaho, South Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia and North Carolina — only D.C. and North Carolina voted blue.

Many of the top 10 states carry heavy religious affiliations. Utah and Idaho have high Mormon populations, and the remaining majority of the states are located in the Bible Belt. On the opposite end, only two of the 10 stingiest states in the nation voted Republican in 2008.

D.C. Metro Area Ranks Eighth

The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked Washington, D.C., the eighth most charitable metropolitan area in the nation in a recent study of American generosity.

The Washington metro area, which has a median income of about $55,000 a year, contributed a median of about $3,000, or 5.5 percent, according to the study, which is based on IRS records from 2008. In total, D.C. area households gave more than $4 billion to charitable organizations, according to 2008 data.

Salt Lake City topped the list of charitable metro areas. With a median income smaller than Washington's — about $48,000 — residents around Salt Lake City contributed an average of about 9 percent to charity after taxes, food, housing and various living expenses.

State Rankings

But Washington, D.C. itself, not including surrounding areas in Virginia and Maryland, ranked higher when included among the list of American states, claiming the second spot.

District residents donated an average of more than 7 percent of their incomes to charity, according to the study. Data shows that D.C. donated about $482 million to charity in 2008. Furthermore, residents have a median income of about $39,000. The median contribution after taxes and other household expenses was about $3,000.  

D.C. residents were much more generous than Maryland and Virginia residents.

The median contribution in Maryland and Virginia are $3,000 — about the same as Washington's — but the states ranked 11th and 15th, respectively.

Maryland has a median income of about $52,500, and Virginia has a median income of about $58,000, but residents in Maryland gave an average of less than 6 percent to charity, and residents in Virginia gave an average of less than 5 percent.

According to the data, populations with less wealth in the region are more generous with what they have. This fact is also true nationwide, where lower income American citizens give a larger portion of their incomes to charity. American taxpayers who make between $50,000 and $70,000 donate more than 7 percent of their incomes, on average.

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