The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently published a report on charitable giving throughout the U.S. culled from Census information. The report noted that charitable giving among wealthier Americans is down and that the most poor citizens give a larger percentage of their income to charity than the richest. But what about Houston?
Fortunately, the organization put together an interactive map that divided up areas by ZIP code, and we were able to see just where people gave and where they did not.
For the purposes of this list, we excluded neighborhoods outside the the boundaries of the city limits with one exception, because even though it is its own entity, it is still inside the Loop. Areas like Sugar Land, for example, were also on the short list, but they were well outside the city limits and the central portions of Houston. This list uses ranks ZIP codes based on the organizations "giving ratio," which is calculated by taking the percentage of charitable donations from the ZIP code's adjusted gross income.
Honorable Mention: 77030 Giving Ratio: 2.41 Neighborhoods Represented: Medical Center, West University Place
This one slipped out of our Top 5, but was damn close. Since most of the residents in this area are in West U, this mostly falls on them, which is interesting because the larger section of West University, just to the west of this ZIP code, gave quite a bit more.
5. 77401 Giving Ratio: 2.28 Neighborhoods Represented: Bellaire
While technically not a part of the city of Houston, Bellaire may as well be, given its proximity. It also happens to be one of the more affluent neighborhoods in the city, but it still manages to slip on this list as one of the least charitable areas of town.
4. 77003 Giving Ratio: 2.14 Neighborhoods Represented: EaDo
This is a rather odd and interesting area because it is such a mix of new construction and more impoverished areas, not to mention businesses just south of Highway 59 from downtown.
3. 77008/77009 Giving Ratio: 2.06 Neighborhoods Represented: Greater Heights
This might be the most surprising ZIP code on the list. We lumped these two ZIP codes together because they encompass essentially the entire Heights area from Shepherd Drive east through Lindale Park, north to 610 and south almost to Interstate 10. Given the rapid rise in home costs in the area and the boom in new construction, never mind how the area is notable for some rather progressive political influences, it was a little strange to find this one on the list, but there it is.
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2. 77082 Giving Ratio: 1.94 Neighborhoods Represented: Park Ten, Addicks
This complex and diverse area south of the Energy Corridor and Memorial and just east of Cinco Ranch was dragged down mostly by those in the area who made more than $200,000. Their giving ratio was a shockingly low 1.22 percent, while every other income bracket gave more than 3 percent, including the 8 percent that came from those who made less than $25k.
1. 77046 Giving Ratio: 1.57 Neighborhoods Represented: Greenway Plaza
The vast majority of people who live in this tiny ZIP code area near Lakewood Church and Greenway Plaza make more than $200,000 per year. In fact, there were so few people represented by the under $25k category, it is listed at zero in the report. Despite its size, this is a very wealthy little patch of real estate and also, apparently, has the stingiest givers in the city.