The Most Charitable City in Each State

In this Guide...

Using national tax return data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), we identified the ZIP code in every U.S. state where taxpayers claimed the most charitable contributions on their tax returns. Find out what city is home to the most generous taxpayers in your state.

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1
Key Findings

 

  • The Miami Beach ZIP code 33109 averaged more than $184,000 in charitable contributions per tax return in 2019.

  • More than 55% of all tax returns coming from the Miami Beach 33109 ZIP code included a charitable contribution.

  • ZIP codes in Florida and California accounted for the seven highest charitable contributions in the U.S. in 2019. 
2
Study Overview

Using national Statistics of Income (SOI) tax return data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), we identified the ZIP code in every U.S. state that claimed the most charitable contributions on tax returns for the year 2019, the most recent tax year that such data is available.  

We analyzed the data with two framing questions in mind:

  • Which city in each state accounts for the highest amount of money claimed as charitable contributions?

  • Which city in every state is home to the highest percentage of residents claiming charitable contributions?

Find out which city in your state makes the list and see how it compares to communities across the country.

3
Cities With the Highest Charitable Contribution Per Tax Return

The table below shows the ZIP code in every state that averaged the highest dollar amount of charitable contributions per tax return in 2019.

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Graphic table showing the most charitable ZIP codes in each state

The 33109 ZIP code in Miami Beach, FL averaged $184,400 in charitable contributions per return, which was tops not only in the state of Florida but across the U.S. The only other area to surpass an average of $100,000 per return was the 94304 ZIP code of Palo Alto, CA.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, West Virginia’s most charitable city was Charleston (25314), which averaged $1,800 in charitable contributions per tax return. 

In 33 states, the highest amount of charitable contributions in a single ZIP code was under $20,000 per return. The contributions coming from Miami Beach’s 33109 ZIP code totaled more than the top contributors from 28 states combined. 

4
Cities With the Highest Number of Charitable Givers

The table below shows the percentage of tax returns that included a charitable contribution in 2019 for each of the ZIP codes listed above. 

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Graphic table showing Percentage of tax returns claiming donations in each state's most generous ZIP code

The Miami Beach ZIP code of 33109, which had the highest average contribution per return in the U.S., had charitable contribution deductions included on more than 55% of its 2019 tax returns.

The 94304 ZIP code of Palo Alto averaged more than $141,000 in charitable contributions per tax return, which ranks second in the U.S. However, as noted in the chart above, only 27% of tax returns coming from Palo Alto in 2019 included a charitable contribution.

ZIP codes in 22 other states contributed at a more frequent rate than Palo Alto. Taxpayers in the 28207 ZIP code of Charlotte, NC contributed just one-sixth the amount of money that Palo Alto tax filers claimed but contributed at a rate that was 17% more frequent. 

In Pownal, VT (05261), just 2.5% of tax returns included a charitable contribution, despite the ZIP code accounting for the largest dollar amount of contributions in the state.  

5
Highest Charitable Contributions Per Tax Return in the U.S.

While the first table above identifies the ZIP code in each state with the highest average contribution per return, the table below lists the ZIP codes with the highest average contribution across all states. 

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Graphic table showing the Most charitable zip codes in the nation

Two of the top three ZIP codes for charitable contributions are in south Florida, while five of the top seven ZIP codes for charitable contributions are all in the bay area of California. 

All told, California accounted for seven of the top 15 ZIP codes for charitable contribution deductions in 2019.

While Florida placed two ZIP codes among the top three, no other ZIP code in Florida ranked among the top 15. 

Boston, MA had four ZIP codes rank among the top 25, including three in the top 11. 

Medina, WA, is home to just over 3,000 residents, but two of those are Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. Medina’s 98039 ZIP code made the 9th-highest charitable contribution in 2019.

6
The Tax Benefits of Making Charitable Contributions

The U.S. tax code recognizes the value of giving by providing several incentives for taxpayers to put some of their funds to good use. 

And due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some temporary changes were made to the tax code that provide an even greater incentive to give in 2021. Most notable is that the limit for deductible cash donations (usually 60% of your adjusted gross income) has been eliminated for 2020 and 2021, meaning some filers could potentially claim a charitable deduction of up to 100% of their adjusted gross income when filing their taxes this spring, though that may not be advised for all individuals.

You also don’t have to itemize your tax deductions in order to claim a charitable contribution. Individuals can claim donations up to $300 – and married couples can claim up to $600 – while still taking the standard deduction. This measure, which lowers your effective tax rate, is set to expire in 2022. 

Learn more of the tax benefits you can experience by making a charitable contribution and be sure to speak with a financial advisor or tax professional for advice on your individual situation.

7
Conclusion

Residents of certain cities make more charitable contributions than others in their state. Taxpayers in ZIP codes in Florida and California claim a high dollar amount of donations on their taxes, although the amount contributed is not always linear with the number of people contributing.

8
Methodology

2019 tax data comes from the IRS Individual Income Tax Statistics data tables.

To calculate the average donation per tax return in each ZIP code, we divided the total amount claimed through charitable donation tax deductions in each ZIP code by the total number of tax returns filed (both individual and married couples) as listed in the IRS data tables.

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