Rich ghettos deplete generosity

Fascinating new research from the US finds that living in rich-only enclaves rather than in mixed income communities is related to lower levels of philanthropy.

The study was conducted by specialist US newspaper The Chronicle of Philanthropy (how I wish we had a UK equivalent!), which cross-checked giving patterns with zip codes (postcodes). The article about the study is here, and this is the finding that jumped out at me:

Rich people who live in neighborhoods with many other wealthy people give a smaller share of their incomes to charity than rich people who live in more economically diverse communities. When people making more than $200,000 a year account for more than 40 percent of the taxpayers in a ZIP code, the wealthy residents give an average of 2.8 percent of discretionary income to charity, compared with an average of 4.2 percent for all itemizers earning $200,000 or more.

It looks like gated communities don’t just keep out the riff raff – they close the gates on generosity too.

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