Miami's Most Charitable ZIP Code Is in Opa-locka, Stingiest Is in Downtown

Quick. Which neighborhood in Miami do you think gives the biggest percentage of its income to charity? The exclusive enclave of Fisher Island? The rich families of Coral Gables? The retirees in Miami Beach? Nope. Not even close.

Miami's most charitable ZIP code is 33056. That's a neighborhood in none other than Opa- locka. The average resident give 7.75 percent to charity each year there. You can view Miami's ten most charitable ZIP codes here.

It's stingiest? The downtown ZIP code of 33132, AKA Ground Zero for over-the-top luxury skyscrapers. You can view Miami's ten least charitable ZIP codes here.

The data comes from The Chronicle of Philanthropy's How America Gives report released earlier this week. The report used IRS data from 2012. Donations were based on itemized deductions on tax returns, and then judged as a percentage of adjusted gross income (i.e. total income minus "business expenses, unreimbursed medical expenses, retirement-plan contributions, and other deductions").

The Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Palm Beach metro-area came in as the 19th most charitable metro area, ahead of comparatively wealthier New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, and San Francisco. About 3.0 percent of adjusted gross income was donated in South Florida. Though, the total varies among the counties: 2.72 percent in Broward County, 2.96 percent in Miami-Dade and 3.61 percent in Palm Beach. The average percentage across the country was also 3.0 percent.

But digging deeper into data from Miami tells a somewhat surprising tale. It's not the wealthiest zip codes that are giving away the biggest chunks of their incomes to charity. In fact, it's Miami's most African-American neighborhoods where giving is the most widespread.

Three of the four most generous ZIP codes in Miami are in Opa-locka, where 7.75 percent of the total adjusted gross income is donated to charity each year. In neighboring 33054, 7.33 percent is given.

The rest of the ZIP codes in the top 10 include areas of Liberty City, Brownsville, Miami Gardens, North Miami, and Allapatah.

Though the report does not detail what kind of charities residents are donating to, it's quite likely that a large chunk of that money is staying in those communities through donations to local churches.

The only exception is 33154, which came in third with 7.09 percent of income donated. That ZIP code includes much of Surfside, but also includes the island of Indian Creek, which is one of America's wealthiest neighborhoods. Though, considering that in 2006 the giving ration there was only 3.39 percent, and that the medium donation contribution was $4,248, it's highly likely that one or a small number of ultra wealthy resident of Indian Creek made a legacy donation that year that buoyed the overall giving ration for the entire ZIP code.

In 2011, Indian Creek residents Phillip and Patricia Frost had pledged $35 million to the Science Museum that will now bare their name, after all.

Dade's least charitable ZIP codes tell a different but equally fascinating story.

The "Uncle Scrooge" of Miami ZIP codes is 33132, the heart of downtown Miami. It's joined by 33131 to the immediate south and 33137 to the immediate north. All together that stretch represents an area that stretches from the Upper East Side to Brickell Key and includes Midtown Miami, Edgewater, Park West, Omni, Morningside, and the Design District. This is also ground zero for Miami's latest condo boom.

Resident in those zip codes gave just 1.48 percent in ZIP code 33132 and 1.54 in 33137. Keep in mind that that only includes American taxpayers who claim properties in those areas as their primary residences.

So despite the fact that resident of 33132 have a median adjusted gross income of $117,289, they only gave a median amount of $2,818 to charity in 2012. Bah humbug!

Residents of other condo-filled areas including Brickell and Miami Beach aren't exceedingly generous, but they avoided the top ten. In fact, most of the rest of the bottom ten come from the suburbs, including South Miami, Palmetto Bay, Doral, Miami Lakes, and portions of Kendall.

The local ZIP code data seems to jibe somewhat with reports that nationwide wealthy Americans are giving less to charities even as they continue to make more money while those making less than $100,000 a year have increased the percentage of income giving to charities in the past six years.

Click through for the list of Miami-Dade's top 10 most charitable ZIP codes.

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Kyle Munzenrieder

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