Arkansas's giving as a percentage of discretionary income is the eighth highest in the U.S., according to the most recently audited income tax reports, a study released in August by the Chronicle of Philanthropy says. The state's median charitable contributions — $3,554 — is the 5th highest in the nation.
The Chronicle gleaned the information from tax records of people who earned $50,000 or more in 2008.
The Chronicle drilled down to zip code level to compare philanthropy across neighborhoods. It found that, in general, rich people who live in wealthy neighborhoods give a smaller share of their income than wealthy people who choose to live in diverse communities.
Zip codes may not be the best way to measure that in Little Rock, however, with its lower population density. The most generous zip code in Little Rock was also its richest, 72223, which includes Chenal and luxe neighborhoods west of the city. Its total giving was $41 million, for a national ranking of 333 out of 28,725 zip codes. The median cost of a home in 72223 in 2012 was $300,000; the Chronicle put median discretionary income in that zip code at $99,508.
Second most generous was the 72212 zip code, with a total of $24.8 million and a national ranking of 1,035. The zip code includes Pleasant Valley, and the median home price is $200,000. Third was 72207 (the Heights, Cammack Village), where the median home price, $225,000, is higher than that in 72212, but where total giving was $22.8 million. Other zip codes: Fourth, 72116 in North Little Rock ($19.8 million); fifth, 72211 ($17.5 million); sixth, 72113 (Maumelle), $15 million; seventh, 72227 ($13.2 million); eighth, 72205 ($10.7 million), ninth, 72204 ($7.1 million) and 10th, 72206 ($5.9 million). The information can be found at philanthropy.com along with the article "How America Gives."
The Chronicle study also found that middle-class Americans give a bigger share of their income to charity than the rich. Households earning $50,000 to $75,000 gave an average of 7.6 percent of their discretionary income; people earning $100,000 or more gave an average of 4.2 percent. Giving to churches accounts for the high per capita giving in Utah (No. 1) and Idaho (No. 6), where it's Mormon tradition to tithe 10 percent of income, and the Bible Belt, which fills out the top 10 spots.