Approximately a quarter of all American adults volunteered through an organization in 2015, while nearly two-thirds helped their neighbors in some manner, an annual report from the Corporation for National and Community Service finds.
According to the report, Volunteering and Civic Life in America, 62.6 million adults (24.9 percent) volunteered in 2015, providing nearly 7.8 billion hours of service valued at $184 billion (based on Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour). In addition, more than 138 million Americans (62.5 percent) engaged in an informal volunteering activity such as watching a neighbor’s children, helping an elderly person with shopping, or house sitting.
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Direct to Full Text Report: Volunteering and Civic Life in America
Source: Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)
- Generation X leads volunteering among generations. Americans aged 35-44 had the highest volunteer rate (28.9 percent) followed by Baby Boomers (25.7 percent).
- One in five (21.9 percent) of Millennials (age 16-32) volunteered. Young adults age 18-24 attending college volunteer at twice the rate (25.7 percent) of their non-college attending peers (13.6 percent).
- Older Americans, including Baby Boomers and members of the Silent Generation, tend to volunteer more hours. In 2015, the age groups with the highest median hours among volunteers were ages 65-74 (88 hours) and those 75 and older (100 hours).
- Working mothers continue to maintain the highest rate of volunteering among all populations at 36 percent. The volunteer rate of parents with children under age 18 is higher than the national average at 31.3 percent.
- More than one-third of Americans (36.3 percent) are involved in a school, civic, recreational, religious, or other organization. Americans most frequently volunteer with religious groups (34 percent), followed closely by education or youth service groups, and social or community groups.
- Volunteers are meeting wide range of pressing needs. Millions of volunteers devoted their time to working with youth through tutoring and teaching youth (18 percent) or mentoring youth (17.5 percent). Nearly one-quarter of volunteers helped prevent hunger (24.2 percent) by collecting, preparing, and distributing food, and one in four (24 percent) participated in fundraising activities.
The report also measures volunteering at the state and local level. Utah, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Idaho claim the top five state spots, while Minneapolis-St. Paul, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee, Washington, D.C., and San Jose, Calif. come in as the top large metropolitan areas. Additional rankings are available for mid-size cities and by age groups.