Volunteering in U.S. Hits Record High; Worth $167 Billion
WASHINGTON, D.C. – More Americans than ever are volunteering, according to a new federal study released today by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps and Senior Corps.
The 2018 Volunteering in America report found that 77.34 million adults (30.3 percent) volunteered through an organization last year. Altogether, Americans volunteered nearly 6.9 billion hours, worth an estimated $167 billion in economic value, based on the Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour for 2017. Millions more are supporting friends and family (43.1 percent) and doing favors for their neighbors (51.4 percent), suggesting that many are engaged in acts of “informal volunteering.”
“The fabric of our nation is strengthened by the service of its volunteers. When we stand side-by-side to help others, our differences fade away and we learn that Americans have more in common than we realize,” said Barbara Stewart, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Each and every day, ordinary Americans are stepping up to support their fellow citizens to help with needs both great and small because they understand the power service has to change communities and lives for the better.”
The research also found that Americans are generous with more than just their time. Volunteers donate to charity at twice the rate as non-volunteers. Nearly 80 percent of volunteers donated to charity, compared to 40 percent of non-volunteers. Overall, half of all citizens (52.2 percent) donated to charity last year.
Across all categories in the study, volunteers engage in their communities at higher rates than non-volunteers. They more frequently talk to neighbors, participate in civic organizations, fix things in the community, attend public meetings, discuss local issues with family and friends, do favors for neighbors, and vote in local elections.
The Volunteering in America research is produced by CNCS as part of its efforts to expand the reach and impact of America's volunteers. Collected for the past 15 years, the research is the most comprehensive data on American volunteering ever assembled, and it includes a volunteer data profile for all states and major metropolitan areas. The complete report can be accessed at VolunteeringInAmerica.gov, and below are the top-line findings.
- Americans in Utah report the highest rate of volunteering (51 percent), holding the top spot among states, followed by Minnesota (45.1 percent). Oregon (43.2 percent) climbed from the 13th-ranked state to the third, and is joined by Iowa (41.5 percent) and Alaska (40.6 percent), also new to the top five.
- Among cities, Minneapolis-St. Paul (46.3 percent) once again ranks first, with Rochester, N.Y. (45.6 percent), Salt Lake City (45 percent), Milwaukee, Wisc. (44.6 percent), and Portland, Ore., (44.3 percent) trailing just behind.
- Parents volunteer at rates nearly 48 percent higher than non-parents and working mothers give more time than any other demographic, with a volunteer rate of 46.7 percent.
- Generation X has the highest rate (36.4 percent) of volunteering, while Baby Boomers are giving more hours of service (2.2 billion). Millennials are stepping up to do more in Utah and the District of Columbia.
- Veterans are among the most neighborly Americans. They do something positive for the neighborhood, spend time with and do favors for their neighbors, and donate to charity at higher rates than their civilian counterparts. Veterans in New Hampshire and Virginia are volunteering more than in other states.
- Americans most frequently gave their time to religious groups (32 percent), a quarter volunteered most often with sports or arts groups (25.7 percent); with another nearly 20 percent supporting support education or youth service groups.
- One in three volunteers raises funds for nonprofits (36 percent). Additional volunteer activities include: food donation and meal preparation (34.2 percent); transportation and labor support (23 percent); tutoring young people (23 percent); serving as a mentor (26.2 percent); and lending professional and management expertise (20.5 percent).
Individuals interested in the full report or in finding local volunteer opportunities can visit www.serve.gov.