Community Life
Charitable Contributions as a Percent of Income

Charitable Contributions as a Percent of Income

What does this measure?

Contributions to charitable organizations, measured as a percentage of income.

Why is this important?

Charitable giving supports a wide variety of organizations, including those that provide essential services to the community and people in need. The level of giving shows residents' willingness to invest in programs and organizations serving the community.

How is our county doing?

In 2016, Essex County residents contributed just under $480 million - or 1.4%, of their income - to charitable organizations, an overall decline since 2014 when contributions were $514 million. This is also less than state and national charitable donation rates of 2.0% and 2.3%, respectively.

How do we compare to similar counties?

Essex County had the lowest contribution rate among comparison counties in 2016, as Westchester, NY, Lake County, IL and Middlesex, MA all had rates around 2.4%. Each comparison county increased since 2011 in the percentage of income that was donated to charity, but Middlesex has increased the total dollar amount contributed by 21% since 2011.

Notes about the data

Figures are in constant 2016 dollars. Comparable data for some years was not available. These figures reflect contributions listed on tax returns with itemized deductions, which researchers estimate cover about 80% of all charitable giving nationally. No county or state data are available on charitable contributions by taxpayers who take the standard deduction.

Charitable Contributions as a Percent of Income
Essex County, MA1.5%1.5%1.5%1.6%1.3%1.4%
Middlesex County, MA1.9%2.1%2.2%2.1%2.1%2.3%
Lake County, IL2.2%2.5%2.1%2.3%2.1%2.4%
Westchester County, NY2.2%2.3%2.2%2.1%2.1%2.5%

Source: Internal Revenue Service
Notes: Figures are in constant 2016 dollars.

Total Charitable Giving
Essex County, MA$437,429,013$443,378,792$442,613,758$514,504,950$449,278,939$478,630,843
Middlesex County, MA$1,475,108,293$1,696,466,900$1,796,970,756$1,847,316,994$1,903,884,230$2,077,751,167
Lake County, IL$713,186,425$922,697,001$740,689,450$834,461,638$849,842,479$917,891,455
Westchester County, NY$1,386,154,641$1,601,754,797$1,450,833,205$1,502,293,944$1,586,988,521$1,759,866,353

Source: Internal Revenue Service
Notes: Figures are in constant 2016 dollars.