Money in Politics: Who Gives
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Less than 1% of Americans Contribute 80% of Funds
- Less than 0.5 percent of the U.S. population contributed $200 or more to federal candidates in 2008, or 82 percent of total itemized contributions.
- Less than 0.1 percent of Americans contributed $2,300 or more in 2008, or 60 percent of the total.
- Approximately 4 percent of Americans made contributions in any amount in 2008.
- Men contributed 68 percent of all money to federal candidates, compared with 32 percent from women.
Geographic Concentration of Major Donors
- The top 5 metro areas for contributions to federal candidates in 2008 — New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston — contributed $726 million, more than the bottom 36 states combined.
- Residents of Manhattan’s Upper East Side (top 5 zip codes) contributed $72 million in 2008, more than each of the bottom 39 states and approximately 50 times the national per capita rate of $9.90.
- A study of racial/ethnic distribution of campaign contributions in the 2000-2004 elections found that 89.4 percent of money came from predominantly non-Hispanic white zip codes and 10.6 percent came from predominantly racial/ethnic minority zip codes.
Major Industries Top 2008 Contributors
- The top contributing industry sectors — finance and real estate, lawyers and lobbyists, healthcare, communications, and energy and transportation — provided a combined $1.2 billion in campaign money to federal candidates in 2008.
- Contributions from the top five sectors accounted for nearly 50 percent of the total $2.4 billion in 2008, compared with 10 percent from ideological/single issue groups and 3 percent from labor unions.
- Industry giving to the two major political parties was roughly even across sectors, with Democrats receiving 56 percent of total contributions.
Sources: Federal Election Commission, Center for Responsive Politics, Public Campaignʼs “The Color of Money” Project