Curious how much charitable giving there is in the North End / Waterfront? The annual report by the Chronicle of Philanthropy is out and much is being made of how “stingy” New England states were ranked, including Massachusetts, where only 2.8% of discretionary income is given to charity versus 4.7% for the nation. Boston is second to last of the top 50 cities at 2.9% compared to top-ranked Salt Lake City at 9.0%.
We were intrigued when we saw some interesting comments by Old North’s Vicar Steve Ayers in one of his E-pistle congregation letters leading us to viewpoints by conservative columnist Jeff Jacoby (liberals give less than right wingers) and left-leaning NPR (holy rollers give more than secularists).
What really interested us was the zip code analysis, tabulated below from the study.
In the “core” North End 02113, the median discretionary income is lower than average at $43,300 and the percentage of giving is comparatively low at 2.9%.
In the 02109 NE waterfront, the income jumps to over $250,000, while the percentage of income given to charity increases to 5.4%. Moving to 02110, Fulton St./North St./Wharf District, the percentage increases even higher to 9.6%.
Digging a bit deeper, we found that much can be explained by the age demographic. More than half of zip code 02113 is under 30 while the majority of 02110 is over 45. In zip code 02109, the age demographic is also skewed significantly older. It makes sense that the much younger, more transient 02113 is less focused on charity than the more settled, income-rich 02109 and 02110.
Reading the study’s methodology, we still have some skepticism about the numbers because much of it comes from 2008 IRS tax returns where data is not included for people making less than $50,000 or those who do not itemize Schedule A. The authors also disclose data weakness in areas with high numbers of seniors.
So, we ask you, our readers: