Who Is Volunteering Where?


Ciera Russum, a member of the Advanced Construction team at YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School. Photo: serve.gov

Volunteering in America is a pretty darned comprehensive look at the way US citizens choose to donate volunteer hours, who does it most and least by state and city, trends for areas of focus and type of work, and much more exhaustive research about civic engagement than you and I are likely to ever read. Some of the major trends, however, are fascinating.

The most recent report, filed in 2011, details statistics through 2010. In it we learn that in the United States, 62.8 million of us volunteered that year, totaling nearly 8.1 billion volunteer hours, at a rate estimated at 173 billion dollars of volunteered time to the organizations that matter most to us. The top five states for volunteering were: Utah, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota. The number one large city was Minneapolis-St. Paul, and the top slot for mid-sized city was held by Provo, Utah. The largest category of volunteer work was service to religious institutions (35%), followed by education (26.7%), social services (14%), health (8.4%), civic (5.5%), and sports/arts (3.4%). “Other” made up a combined seven percent of American volunteers.

Generation X’ers upped their rate of volunteering, as they have been for a steady number of years. 17 percent of all of us volunteered mentoring youth, and another 18.5% tutored or volunteer taught. More than one quarter of us participated in volunteer fundraising efforts, and nearly another quarter of us collected, prepared, distributed, or served food.

4.4 million teenagers donated 377 million hours of volunteer time, and as is always the case across all ages, women out-perform men (36 million women volunteered compared to 26.8 million men).

We do OK. We can do more. Where has your time added to the pie charts and bar graphs, and do you imagine this year you will increase your volunteering, decrease, or pretty much stay the same? Add a comment below–let’s see what are up to as a community.

2 responses to this post.

  1. I’ve volunteered multiple times this year but I’d love to do more! My husband and I have definitely increase our hours from last year which I’m proud of.


  2. International volunteering is a great way to gain experience living in a developing country, learning about another culture and experiencing a different way of life. It is a fantastic way to grow as a person, to develop life skills, self-confidence and self-esteem, and is a tool for self discovery and identity formation.


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