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Gretchen Ertl, Associated Press
An indicator for charitable generosity was church attendance, as Utah, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia gave the most according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy study.

As the recession has lifted, middle-class and poor Americans have given even more to charity, while wealthy Americans have held back.

Even though low-income and middle-class Americans are making less than before the recession, those making $100,000 a year or less have increased giving by 4.5 percent between 2006 and 2012, according to a study from the Chronicle of Philanthropy last week.

In the same period, those making $200,000 and over decreased giving by 4.6 percent, even though they are more likely to have benefited from the economic recovery.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy used IRS data to track charitable giving by state, county and ZIP code by using itemized deductions from tax forms, and "captured $180 billion that was given to charity in 2012, or about 80 percent of the total amount given to charity," according to the report.

The study found that on average, Americans give about 3 percent of their income — a number that hasn't changed for decades — but the rich make up less of that giving. The top giving states were Utah (6.6 percent), Mississippi (5.0 percent), Alabama (4.8 percent) and Georgia (4.7 percent).

Another indicator for charitable generosity was church attendance, the study found. For example, in Utah, residents donated $6.50 to charity for every $1,000 they earned, and 62.2 percent of the population there belongs to the Mormon church, which asks for a 10 percent tithe for church and humanitarian uses.

New Hampshire, which had the lowest giving rate at 1.7 percent, also has low levels of church attendance. However, "Bible belt" states had a boost in giving from both secular and church-going people, according to Chronicle editor Stacy Palmer.

"Religion has always played an important role in giving," Palmer told the Christian Science Monitor. "People who are religious have always had a very strong tradition of charitable giving ... both to the church and to other solicitations."

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