The Catalog for Philanthropy has released its 2004 Generosity Index (GI), a state-by-state analysis of individual tax returns and charitable giving patterns. The 2004 index (based on 2002 tax returns) ranks Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma as the most generous, and Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire as the least.
The GI is based on the philosophy that philanthropic generosity is not just how much one gives, but how much one gives in relation to how much one has. So Mississippi, despite having the lowest per capita income, ranks first because its citizens give disproportionately more of their income than their wealthier counterparts such as California and Connecticut. The underlying research methodology can be found at the site.