Casting Stones

Casting Stones

Conservatives Give More to Charity than Liberals?

Do “conservatives” give more to charitable causes than “liberals”? According to Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks, they do. Dr. Brooks, a professor of public administration at Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, was quite astounded with the results of his own research, which was so at variance with the common perception of the generous “liberal” and the Scrooge-like “conservative.”
In his book, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservativism (Basic Books, 2006), Brooks discovered that approximately equal percentages of liberals and conservatives give to private charitable causes. However, conservatives gave about 30 percent more money per year to private charitable causes, even though his study found liberal families earned an average of 6 percent more per year in income than did conservative families. This greater generosity among conservative families proved to be true in Brooks’ research for every income group, “from poor to middle class to rich.”
This “giving gap” also extended beyond money to time donated to charitable causes, as well. Brooks also discovered that in 2002, conservative Americans were much more likely to donate blood each year than liberals and to do so more often within a year. Brooks found “if liberals and moderates gave blood at the same rate as conservatives, the blood supply in the United States would jump by about 45 percent.”
When Brooks compared his findings to IRS data on the percentage of household income given away, he found that “red” states in the 2004 election were more charitable than “blue” states. Brooks found that 24 of the 25 states that were above average in family charitable giving voted for Bush in 2004, and 17 of the 25 states below average in giving voted for Kerry. Brooks concluded, “The electoral map and the charity map are remarkably similar.”
Why? A clue may be found in the 1996 General Social Survey, which asked Americans whether they agreed that “the government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality.” People who “disagreed strongly” with that statement gave 12 times more money to charity per year than those who “agreed strongly” with the statement.
One’s values, beliefs and political philosophies seem to impact how much one shares of one’s own income with the less fortunate in society. Facts are often surprising and illuminating.

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posted March 13, 2009 at 7:39 pm

“People who “disagreed strongly” with that statement gave 12 times more money to charity per year than those who “agreed strongly” with the statement.”
You’re implying that those who do not give to private charities should not be scorned for this, because they believe in government welfare. But if this is the case we should see liberals giving more freely to the government, voluntarily handing over additional money from their paychecks to fund the federal welfare that they so believe in.
This reminds me of a story in our newspaper that featured an interview with a local business owner re. raising the minimum wage. The business owner fervently attested to the benefits of a higher minimum wage, even a so-called “living wage”. Yet at the end of the interview when the business owner was asked how much she paid her employees, she admitted it tended to be minimum wage, shrugging it off as something she couldn’t afford to do.
I say put your money where you mouth is.

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posted April 8, 2009 at 9:43 am

From the article:
“even though his study found liberal families earned an average of 6 percent more per year in income than did conservative families”
I’ve read that the Liberal Democrats are the non-producers and that they voted for Obama so they could be supported by the productive class.
According to this, Liberals make more money than Conservatives. That would mean the most productive voted Democrat.
That is very interesting because I have not heard that until I saw this article. I have heard the exact opposite and I believed it until today.

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No longer silent majority

posted August 14, 2009 at 2:28 pm

The writer who stated that conservatives will “clench their wallets” rather than donate to a charity is watching too much liberal radio. According to numerous studies (for example:
conservatives donate more to charities than do liberals. It is time to stand up for what we believe. Whole Foods is now one of my go-to stores…

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posted September 22, 2009 at 8:57 am

“Average” does not mean “the typical democratic voter”. I.e. Democratic politicians could be making LOTS of money and tip the average upwards, whereas their voters make considerably less money and do rely on public funds.

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posted May 16, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I love witnessing cognitive dissonance. These results make you so uncomfortable you scramble to draw strange conclusions. Much easier than changing your invested beliefs based on fact. Hey SmallBiZOwner, for one, don’t you need to know the population sizes to make that “more productive” conclusion? Not to mention that liberals seem to congregate in larger cities with higher cost of living/higher wages. Seemingly geography wouldn’t necessarily equate to “more productive”.

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posted October 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Where do they comprise the “conservatives give more than liberals” statistics?

I have never given to an organization that asked me about my political affiliation. So where do these stats come from?

Warren Buffett is donating 99% of his money to charity upon his death. That alone should trump the conservatives. Not to mention the donations from Bill Gates.

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posted October 26, 2011 at 4:50 pm

How are “charities” defined? Are they simply 501(c)(3) status organizations? That would be billionaires giving millions to the Heritage Foundation would be “conservatives giving to charity”.

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posted April 16, 2012 at 11:26 pm

We’ve been thru this already. Red states give
well to churches, with their overhead of salaries and building projects, and only a slim amount going to help the poor.

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posted April 15, 2013 at 1:18 am

Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, such as you wrote the guide in it or something. I think that you just can do with some % to pressure the message home a bit, but other than that, that is wonderful blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.

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posted February 7, 2014 at 5:37 pm


What does a church do with all that donation money? they help people

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Ruth B

posted September 20, 2014 at 4:51 pm

The simple fact is that most Conservatives aren’t rich or stingy, and most Liberals aren’t poor or generous. Conservatives believe that they should help those in need and Liberals believe the government should take care of people, and feel they’ve done their part already…think Scrooge to the men collecting for charity. The reason Conservatives are perceived as being against those in need is that the Liberal propaganda machine is very good at it’s job.

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posted November 1, 2014 at 7:13 pm


Think about the location the majority of liberals and conservatives live. The majority of liberals live in higher cost areas, whereas the majority of conservatives do not. So for example, if liberals “make 6% more” but their living expenses, etc are 20% more… they are NOT doing better. You’ve got to take every factor into account. You can’t make assumptions off of a single statistic or comment. Unless you’re liberal =P

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