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Tuesday, November 8, 2005

The stereotype of Yankee parsimony takes a hit.

Good news for Massachusetts! The annual "Generosity Index" — which year after year puts my state near the bottom in its rankings of charitable giving — turns out to be wrong, wrong, wrong — and not just about Massachusetts. According to a new study, Massachusetts really comes in at number 11. Why is this important? Consider the impact of the annual Generosity Index:

The New York Times called the [Generosity Index] rankings an example of "Yankee frugality." The Florida Times-Union put it more bluntly: "Northern liberals talk about compassion for the less fortunate, Southern conservatives act."

But the Index was inherently flawed:

Using Generosity Index calculations, the study shows that even if [Massachusetts] residents increased their giving by 10 times, 1,000 times, or 100,000 times their current amount and all other states stayed the same, Massachusetts would never rank higher than 23d on the index. Likewise, if residents of Mississippi — the most generous state, according to the index — stopped giving altogether, the state would not fall below 26, the study found.

My Utah (and Mormon) readers will be especially pleased to see that using the improved criteria, Utah is the most generous state in the nation.

("Mass. Generous After All, Study Finds," Sasha Talcott, Boston Globe 11.8.05, reg req'd)

Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 8 November 2005 at 7:56 AM

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