Bill Gates on Making a Difference

Melinda and I have focused on poverty and disease globally, and on education in the US. We picked those issues by starting with an idea we learned from our parents: Everyone’s life has equal value. If you begin with that premise, you quickly see where the world acts as though some lives aren’t worth as much as others. That’s where you can make the greatest difference, where every dollar you spend is liable to have the greatest impact.

Bill Gates

ONE campaign

Yet another campaign aimed at ending extreme poverty and AIDS. It’s easy to get burnt out. There’s so much need and so few real solutions. Don’t let that stop you from investigating this one. Go take a look at their issues, their proposed solution, and sign the declaration. I did. It’s not often I’m on the same list as Claudia Schiffer, No Doubt, The Newsboys, Bono, and Michael W. Smith.

Maybe, while you’re there, buy a white wristband to show your support.

Generosity Index v. Income and Poverty

In my recent post, Generosity index: what about those rich, greedy Republicans?, I displayed a table showing states that voted Republican are more generous according to the “generosity index.” I received the following response from Art in the comments.

In politics, the opposing parties are forever trying to paint their opponents as morally lacking as compaired [sic] to themselves. Listen to conservative talk show radio, and liberal talk show radio and you will see this as a central theme. To me, this chart simply shows something that has been long well known: The more money people have, the less (as a percentage) they give to charity. You see the rich states at the bottom and the poorer states at the top.

Is this true? Let’s look at the facts using the same measures of “richness” the U.S. Census Bureau does — income and poverty. Using information found in tables 7 and 8 in “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2003,” I created a table showing the 50 states ranked by generosity index, money income, and percent in poverty. The first two columns are sorted in ascending order and the third in descending. In other words, depending on column, the states listed at the top of the table are more generous, have less income, and more poverty.

In general, the table supports Art’s statement. The states with higher incomes are also the states with the lower generosity indexes.

Interestingly, the blue states also have less poverty, though this is not as clear as the money income statistic. What is clear is that the states with the most poverty are all red and the states with the least poverty are all blue. In between the extremes, the red and blue states appear evenly mixed.

Can we draw any conclusions from the poverty distribution?