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Study: Less religious states give less to charity

A new study on the generosity of Americans suggests that states with the least religious residents are also the stingiest about giving money to charity.

The study released Monday by the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that residents in states where religious participation is higher than the rest of the nation, particularly in the South, gave the greatest percentage of their discretionary income to charity.

The Northeast, with lower religious participation, was the least generous to charities.

The study was based on Internal Revenue Service records of people who itemized deductions in 2008, the most recent year statistics were available.

But Boston College professor Alan Wolfe said people in less religious states give in a different way by being more willing to pay higher taxes so the government can equitably distribute more to the poor.