Volunteer Rate Dips Again

The volunteer rate among American adults is down for the third consecutive year – reaching its lowest level since data first was tracked in 2002 – but more Americans overall volunteered their time last year.

“Volunteering and Civic Life in America:2015” a report released Tuesday by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) indicates that 25.3 percent of American adults volunteered last year, down from 25.4 percent in 2013 and 26.5 percent in 2012. The volunteer rate reached a high of 28.8 percent in 2005.

Data used to create the report was collected through two supplements to the Current Population Survey conducted monthly by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Overall, 62.8 million adults volunteered through nonprofit organizations last year, up from 62.6 million in 2013 but less than the 64.5 million reported in 2012. Last year, volunteers contributed almost 7.96 billion volunteer hours, valued collectively at $184 billion.

Cumulative hours and value of hours in 2014 are up from 2013 totals of 7.7 billion and $173 billion, respectively. The value is based on Independent Sector’s average valuation of an hour of volunteerism ($23.07 nationally). Volunteer hours and valuations clocked in at 7.9 billion and $175 billion in 2012.

Additional findings in the report include:

  • Individuals ages 35 to 44 had the highest rate of volunteerism in 2014 at 29.8 percent, followed by those ages 45 to 54, 28.5 percent;
  • Those ages 75 and older donated the most time to volunteering, an average of 100 hours per year;
  • The volunteer rate of parents with children ages 18 and younger stands higher than the national average at 31.6 percent. Working mothers have the highest rate of volunteerism among all population groups at 36 percent;
  • Volunteers are more likely to donate to charity than non-volunteers, 80 percent to 40 percent; and,
  • More than 138 million Americans engaged in less formal means of volunteering within their community, such as watching after a neighbor’s child or house sitting. The number is flat as compared to last year’s report.

The report also tracks volunteer data by state. States with the highest rates of volunteerism were:

  • Utah, 46.0 percent;
  • Idaho, 35.8 percent;
  • Wisconsin, 35.4 percent;
  • Minnesota, 35.3 percent; and,
  • Kansas, 35.1 percent.

The states with the lowest rates volunteerism rates are:

  • Louisiana, 17.4 percent;
  • New York, 19.2 percent;
  • Nevada, 19.4 percent;
  • Florida, 20.1 percent; and,
  • Arkansas, 20.5 percent.

To view the entire report, visit https://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov