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Rich People Give A Smaller Share Of Their Income To Charity Than Middle-Class Americans Do

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The rich are less charitable than the middle class, according to a new study.
The rich are less charitable than the middle class, according to a new study.

Rich people apparently care less about the less fortunate than their middle-class counterparts.

That's one conclusion drawn from a new study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy that found that rich people give a smaller share of their income to charity than middle-class Americans do.

While households that make at least $100,000 per year give an average 4.2 percent of their discretionary income to charity, those that make between $50,000 to $75,000 per year give an average 7.6 percent of their discretionary income to charity, according to the study.

It seems that rich people living in wealthy enclaves are the worst when it comes to thinking of the poor. In ZIP codes where more than 40 percent of taxpayers make more than $200,000 per year, residents give an average 2.8 percent of their discretionary income to charity. Many of those rich residents give no money to charity at all.

This isn't the first time we've stumbled upon data that suggests the wealthy aren't sympathetic. Only 34 percent of rich people think that wealth inequality is a problem, according to a recent study by the consulting firm Spectrem Group.

That's a hard statistic to swallow, considering that income inequality has spiked over the past three decades. While the incomes of the middle 60 percent of income earners rose by less than 40 percent between 1979 and 2007, the incomes of the top 1 percent nearly tripled during that same time period. During the first year of the economic recovery, the top 1 percent captured nearly all of the resulting income gains.

The rich are not redistributing that money back to society. Total tax rates are roughly flat in effect across income levels, according to Citizens for Tax Justice. And on average, the rich aren't giving away extra money to charity either, according to this new study.

The bottom line: Rich people are making much more money before, and they're keeping it for themselves.

(Hat tip: CNBC's Robert Frank.)

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