The Chronicles of Philanthropy recently published a study looking at the generosity of taxpayers towards charity using Internal Revenue Service data. The results are interesting: All but one of the top-20 states voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 election.

On average, citizens of the states that went to Romney gave on average 3.66 percent of their gross adjusted incomes to charity while those who voted for Obama gave on average2.56 percent.

Could this be related to religion? Utah, the most generous state, hosts the highest concentration of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) followers in the country. They are expected to contribute 10 percent of their income to the church. Similarly, high rates of charity giving are found in the “Bible Belt”, i.e. states like Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia where church attendance is higher than New England states for example.

Even if it were the case, it’s of little importance as church services are available to everyone. For example, Deseret Industries doesn’t control IDs to see whether the customer is a Mormon or not, nor does Catholic Charities USA discriminate against other religions when helping people.

Rather, giving to charity is a reflection of one’s political ideologies. People believing that help should be voluntary (usually conservatives) tend to give more to charity, whereas people who think that help should be mandatory through government (usually liberals) will be less generous.

It’s especially obvious when looking at presidents and presidential candidates. Mitt and Ann Romney gave over 29.4 percent of their income to charity while the Obamas gave away 21.8 percent in 2012. In 2008, the presidential couple gave 5.7 percent of their reported income to charity, whereas John McCain gave 26 percent.

The same thing applies in Canada. Indeed, the most generous provinces of the country (Alberta and Saskatchewan) are imbued with a small-government mentality. Inversely, the province of Quebec, the one with the most generous government programs and the most burdensome taxes, is the stingiest province.

In short, the average Republican will give more to charity because he believes he is better placed to help people, whereas the average Democrat will give less of his money to charity because he believes it’s the government’s (i.e. other people’s) job. And unfortunately, this latter mentality is hurtful for the poor since most welfare money ends up in bureaucrat pockets.