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Americans are world's most charitable, top 1% provide 1/3rd of all donations

White House employees open letters as more mail piles in containing contributions for the March of Dimes in Washington, D.C., Jan. 28, 1944. (AP Photo)

Americans are a charitable group, in fact the most generous in the world, according to the new Almanac of American Philanthropy.

In a first of its kind survey, the Almanac found that Americans out-donate Britain and Canada two-to-one and nations like Italy and Germany 20-to-one. What's more, more than half of every single income class except those earning less than $25,000 donate to charity.

The much maligned top 1 percent in the U.S. economy fork over one third of all donations made. Even in death.

"The wealthiest 1.4 percent of Americans are responsible for 86 percent of the charitable donations made at death," said the survey conducted by Public Opinion research.

What's more, Republicans appear to give bigger gifts, but Democrats pour in the smaller donations in a big number. Said the survey analysis, "If, however, you zero in on giving that is heavier or lighter than the middle range you find that the parties differ a lot. Democrats and Independents both had many zero-to-very-light givers (less than $100 for the year), and modest numbers of heavier givers. Republicans, in comparison, had comparatively few skinflints, and numerous serious donors — 31 percent sharing at least $1,000 with charity, versus 17 percent among Democrats, and 20 percent among Independents."

Americans also have high hopes for charities, choosing them over government agencies to solve the nation's social problems, by a margin of 47 percent to 32 percent. And as a result, they want to protect tax deductions for charity, 66 percent to 21 percent.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.