Generous San Clemente residents shelled out $56.2 million to charities of all kinds in 2008, the most recent year tax records are available.
This giving puts the Spanish Village by the Sea ahead of more than 11,000 other cities surveyed throughout the U.S. by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
The median contribution given by San Clemente households in 2008, was $3,236, or 4.4 percent of discretionary income ― even in that turbulent year when the housing bubble burst. Countywide, residents gave 4.0 percent of their total income to charity, according to the survey.
San Clemente is also one of America's richer communities with a median discretionary income of $73,476. The Chronicle came to that number by adjusting for cost of living, taxes, etc.
"The data in this special report, 'How America Gives,' come from a comprehensive study The Chronicle conducted to examine giving data by ZIP code and by income level in every city and town in the United States," the Chronicle states.
A caveat on that $73,476: because of discrepancies in the data for people with income below $50,000, The Chronicle’s study includes only taxpayers who reported incomes of $50,000 or more.
Interestingly, San Clemente residents with the lowest measured income gave proportionally the most, while the richest folks gave the lowest percentage. Households making $50,000 to $100,000 gave 7.7 percent of their incomes to charity; those making $100,000 to $200,000 gave 4.3 percent, and those making $200,000 and up gave only 3.7 percent.