Burlington residents are less charitable than most Americans, according to a study by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
The town’s charitable contributions are in-line with the trend for Massachusetts and New England, which both finished near the bottom of charitable giving in most categories. The most generous region of the country was the Deep South.
The study reported that Burlington residents, with a median discretionary income of $63,470, had a median contribution of 2.5 percent, or $1,605, of their income to charity in 2008, the tax year for which data was collected.
By way of comparison, the county's median contribution was 4.7 percent, the state's was 2.8 percent and Middlesex District's median contribution was 3.4 percent. (See chart below.)Geographic Area Median Discretionary Income Percentage Donated Dollar Amount Donated
Burlington $63,470 2.5 $1,605 Middlesex County $53,184 3.4 $1,816 Massachusetts $58,099 2.8 $1,652 United States $54,783 4.7 $2,564
While Burlington's median contribution, of $1,605, was in the bottom quarter of the country, the total contributions of $9.3 million ranked 4,371 of 28,275 based on giving by ZIP codes.
The study is based on exact dollar amounts released by the Internal Revenue Service that show the value of charitable deductions claimed by American taxpayers in 2008.
The Chronicle’s rankings show the percentage of their income that households donated from the money they had left after paying their taxes and covering housing, food, and other essential expenses.
While The Chronicle used averages to compare towns, readers may also search by income bracket. The study shows that those making the least money in Burlington donated the largest percentage of their income. The tax returns reporting median discretionary income of $50,000 to $99,999 in Burlington gave an average of 4.2 percent, or $1,224.
Those making $100,000-$199,999 reportedly gave 2.2 percent and those more than $200,000 gave 1.9 percent.
The average for all income levels was 2.5 percent.