Arlington Residents with Less Give More to Charity, Following National Trend

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has published data on how much residents of every ZIP code in the United States donate to charity based on 2008 IRS tax return information.

Arlington County residents who earn less than $100,000 a year tend to give a higher percentage of their income to charities than their more affluent neighbors, mirroring a national trend.

Residents of the 22209 (Rosslyn and Radnor/Fort Myer Heights) and 22202 (Aurora Highlands) ZIP codes topped the list, as residents there who make less than $100,000 annually gave 26.2 percent and 18.3 percent of their income, respectively, to charities in 2008, based on the most recent data available.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy published data this weekend on how much residents of every ZIP code in the United States donate to charity based on 2008 IRS tax return information. 

Excluding ZIP code 22101, which is predominantly McLean, the data for the 10 remaining Arlington County ZIP codes show:

  • The area of the county with the highest median discretionary income, ZIP code 22207, had the highest median contribution to charity ($4,673) and the highest total contributions ($45.3 million).
  • The area of the county with the lowest median discretionary income, ZIP code 22204, had the third-highest total contributions ($17.5 million).
  • ZIP code 22213, which has the third-highest median discretionary income, was the second-most stingy area of the county, contributing $3.2 million, a small amount relative to the rest of Arlington.
Total contributions Median contribution Median discretionary income Percent of income given Rank (Out of 28,725)



$88.9 million $8,866 $185,116 4.80% 60 22207 $45.3 million $4,673 $126,468 3.70% 274 22205 $15.2 million $3,007 $85,011 3.50% 2,418 22213 $3.2 million $2,854 $72,491 3.90% 8,906 22202 $15.5 million $2,907 $51,105 5.70% 2,341 22201 $20.8 million $1,909 $49,419 3.90% 1,481 22203 $11.3 million $2,237 $49,043 4.60% 3,541 22211 $100,934 $3,589 $47,994 7.50% 25,331 22206 $10.4 million $1,867 $42,040 4.40% 3,859 22209 $8.9 million $2,049 $40,764 5.00% 4,532 22204 $17.5 million $1,921 $38,642 5.00% 1,988

Overall, people in Northern Virginia tend to give a smaller percentage of their income to charity than people in the southern and western parts of the state.

In contrast, several counties in southern Virginia saw charitable giving average more than 9 percent of their respective income. These include Brunswick, Halifax, Pittsylvania, Henry, Grayson and Bath counties.  

Political and Religious Affiliations

The Chronicle’s study showed that people in states that voted Republican in the 2008 election were more generous with their money than residents of states who voted Democrat.

Of the top 10 most generous jurisdictions – Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Idaho, South Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina and Washington, D.C. – only the District and North Carolina voted blue. On the opposite end, only two of the 10 stingiest states in the nation voted Republican in 2008.

Many of the top 10 states carry heavy religious affiliations. Utah and Idaho have significant Mormon populations, and the majority of the remaining states are located in the Bible Belt. 

D.C. Metro Area Ranks Eighth

The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked Washington, D.C., the eighth-most charitable metropolitan area in the nation in a recent study of American generosity.

The Washington metro area, which has a median income of about $55,000 annually, contributed a median of about $3,000, or 5.5 percent, according to the study, which is based on IRS records from 2008. In total, District-area households gave more than $4 billion to charitable organizations, according to the data.

Salt Lake City topped the list of charitable metro areas. With a median income smaller than Washington’s – about $48,000 – residents around Salt Lake City contributed an average of about 9 percent to charity after taxes, food, housing and various living expenses.

State Rankings

But the District of Columbia, when the surrounding parts of Virginia and Maryland were excluded, ranked second among the United States.

District residents donated an average of more than 7 percent of their incomes to charity, according to the study. Data shows that Washington donated about $482 million to charity in 2008. Residents there have a median income of about $39,000. The median contribution after taxes and other household expenses was about $3,000.

Washington residents were much more generous than their neighbors in Maryland and Virginia.

The median contributions in Maryland and Virginia were $3,000 – about the same as Washington’s – but the states ranked 11th and 15th, respectively.

Maryland has a median income of about $52,500, and Virginia has a median income of about $58,000. But residents in Maryland give an average of less than 6 percent to charity, and residents in Virginia give an average of less than 5 percent.

According to the data, populations with less wealth in the region are more generous with what they have. This is also true nationwide, where lower-income Americans gave a larger portion of their incomes to charity. American taxpayers who make between $50,000 and $70,000 donate more than 7 percent of their incomes, on average.


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