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Scrooge States: The Least Generous in the U.S.

The United Scrooges of America


Christmas is a special time for many Americans, who like to convince themselves at this time of year that it really is better to give than to receive. But which are the most generous states in the country?

To find out, MainStreet looked at two categories of spending largesse, on an individual and state level. We looked at state-wide contributions to the national retail economy and individual-level donations to charity. Here is how we broke it down:



  • Using the most recent data (2009) for retail trade from the Census Bureau's Statistical Abstract, we ranked the states on absolute sales across seven categories: furniture, electronics/appliances, health/personal care products, clothing, sporting goods and media, general merchandise, and miscellaneous stores. We didn't control for population, since the states that put the most money into local and national stores make a generous contribution to the national consumer economy as a whole.


  • Using the most recent data from the Census and IRS (and compiled by the Fraser Institute), we ranked states on two metrics - the percentage of taxpayers who donate to charity and the average proportion of yearly income they donate - to order them based on their philanthropic generosity.




Combining all of these numbers into one cumulative ranking, we rank the bottom 25 here to establish who the "Scrooge states" are. To find out which states came in at the top of the rankings, check out the accompanying feature on "Santa states" on MainStreet.

Photo Credit: GlenBledsoe

25. Wisconsin


Retail Spending: $24.74 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 22/50

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Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 28.3%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 1.11%

Giving Rank: 28/50

--

Overall Rank: 26/50

Photo Credit: barcar

24. Idaho (tie)


Retail Spending: $6.87 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 41/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 25.9%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 1.58%

Giving Rank: 10/50

--

Overall Rank: 27/50

Photo Credit: amanderson2

24. Ohio (tie)


Retail Spending: $43.59 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 9/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 23.9%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 1.07%

Giving Rank: 42/50

--

Overall Rank: 27/50

Photo Credit:  kla4067

22. Kansas


Retail Spending: $11.32 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 35/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 24.3%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 1.48%

Giving Rank: 17/50

--

Overall Rank: 29/50

Photo Credit: Claire Schmitt

21. Mississippi


Retail Spending: $14.44 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 32/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 19.6%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 1.52%

Giving Rank: 23/50

--

Overall Rank: 30/50

Photo Credit: Ken Lund

20. Delaware (tie)


Retail Spending: $5.38 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 43/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 29.4%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 1.31%

Giving Rank: 14/50

--

Overall Rank: 31/50

Photo Credit: sachindaluja

20. Indiana (tie)


Retail Spending: $30.01 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 15/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 21.1%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 1.18%

Giving Rank: 42/50

--

Overall Rank: 31/50

Photo Credit: Kevin Dooley

18. Arkansas (tie)


Retail Spending: $14.50 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 31/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 19.2%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 1.37%

Giving Rank: 30/50

--

Overall Rank: 33/50

Photo Credit: StuSeeger

18. Kentucky (tie)


Retail Spending: $20.11 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 26/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 23.2%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 1.23%

Giving Rank: 35/50

--

Overall Rank: 33/50

Photo Credit: Monique Wingard

16. Nevada


Retail Spending: $15.24 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 30/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 25.7%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 1.16%

Giving Rank: 32/50

--

Overall Rank: 35/50

Photo Credit: Matthias Ott

15. Montana (tie)


Retail Spending: $5.31 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 44/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 22.8%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 1.38%

Giving Rank: 23/50

--

Overall Rank: 36/50

Photo Credit: gene1138

15. Nebraska (tie)


Retail Spending: $7.93 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 40/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 24.5%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 1.28%

Giving Rank: 27/50

--

Overall Rank: 36/50

Photo Credit: Kables

13. Louisiana


Retail Spending: $23.67 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 24/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 18.5%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 1.1%

Giving Rank: 44/50

--

Overall Rank: 38/50

Photo Credit: Ray Devlin

12. Hawaii (tie)


Retail Spending: $92.51 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 37/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 26%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 0.97%

Giving Rank: 38/50

--

Overall Rank: 39/50

Photo Credit: PlassPhoto

12. Iowa (tie)


Retail Spending: $11.87 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 34/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 24.3%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 1.09%

Giving Rank: 41/50

--

Overall Rank: 39/50

Photo Credit: Nicholas_T

12. Rhode Island (tie)


Retail Spending: $3.81 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 46/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 30.1%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 0.92%

Giving Rank: 29/50

--

Overall Rank: 39/50

Photo Credit: Patricia Drury

9. New Hampshire


Retail Spending: $8.05 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 39/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 26.7%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 0.86%

Giving Rank: 40/50

--

Overall Rank: 42/50

Photo Credit: Leventhal Map Center

8. New Mexico (tie)


Retail Spending: $9.69 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 36/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 19.2%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 0.99%

Giving Rank: 44/50

--

Overall Rank: 43/50

Photo Credit: a4gpa

8. South Dakota (tie)


Retail Spending: $3.56 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 47/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 14.7%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 1.39%

Giving Rank: 33/50

--

Overall Rank: 43/50

Photo Credit: Mykl Roventine

6. Wyoming


Retail Spending: $2.66 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 49/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 16.4%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 1.35%

Giving Rank: 36/50

--

Overall Rank: 45/50

Photo Credit: Whatleydude

5. West Virginia


Retail Spending: $9.01 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 38/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 13.1%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 0.9%

Giving Rank: 49/50

--

Overall Rank: 46/50

Photo Credit: bradwicklund

4. Maine


Retail Spending: $5.95 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 42/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 22.6%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 0.8%

Giving Rank: 47/50

--

Overall Rank: 47/50

Photo Credit: fortes

3. Alaska


Retail Spending: $4.16 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 45/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 18.4%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 0.98%

Giving Rank: 48/50

--

Overall Rank: 48/50

Photo Credit: AlaskaDude

2. Vermont


Retail Spending: $2.51 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 50/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 21.4%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 0.86%

Giving Rank: 46/50

--

Overall Rank: 49/50

Photo Credit: _rockinfree

1. North Dakota


Retail Spending: $3.42 billion

Retail Spending Rank: 48/50

--

Taxpayers Who Give (2009): 14.7%

Avg. Proportion of Income Given (2009): 0.82%

Giving Rank: 50/50

--

Overall Rank: 50/50

Photo Credit: afiler

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Greg Emerson is a writer/editor for MainStreet. You can reach him by e-mail at greg.emerson@thestreet.com, or follow him on Twitter at @emersongreg.

And if you haven't already, now is a great time to follow MainStreet itself on Twitter. You'll get all of our most important stories, right as they publish. Follow us @mainstr!

For the top half of our Santa vs. Scrooge state rankings, check out MainStreet's Santa States: The Most Generous in the U.S.!

Photo Credit: clevercupcakes

Read More:   charity, holidays
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