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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Southern hospitality includes charity, too

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

"People in the South seem more willing to help their neighbors and their fellow man."

Now it's official - southern hospitality is for real! But then again, I think everyone knew that already. In the latest issue of the Catalogue for Philanthropy - as if anyone knew this publication existed - the South again ranks well above the rest of the nation in terms of their generosity.

I personally consider Sikeston to be a southern-flavored community. Granted, you don't have to travel too far to the north for that to change. At least in my mind. So when the South is ranked at the top of any chart, I think we can somehow identify and share in that pride. After all, for the most part, the South ranks near the bottom of most charts - i.e. education, income, etc. So to top a listing is fairly good news.

Mississippi residents ranked especially high in terms of charitable giving in relation to their income. The Magnolia state topped the list in five of the six charitable classifications. They were followed by Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana. OK, so South Dakota was in that group too. I'll leave that for you to explain.

At the bottom of the list of charitable states were New Hampshire, Rhode Island and New Jersey. That says much about the stinginess of the Yankee mentality. So there!

The survey basically compares the state's average gross income with its average itemized charitable deductions on income taxes. That ranking puts the South clearly in the hospitable and charitable stratosphere.

Missouri fell near the middle of the rankings but that's where we fall in virtually all categories. Those Yankees from St. Louis pull us down year after year. I say that half-kidding.

All of this folly proves little other than perhaps it does illustrate the charitable nature of the southern attitude. People in the South seem more willing to help their neighbors and their fellow man. And that was the basis for much of the southern hospitality reputation in the first place.

This ranking may not do a lot to attract new business to the South but it does give the South one small braggin' point. And after years of abuse from the talking heads of the northern television networks, it's nice to finish first.

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