The number of Americans who volunteer dropped slightly in 2010, according to a federal report released today.
Nearly 63 million Americans, slightly more than a quarter of the population, volunteered for charities last year, providing services valued at nearly $173-billion. That’s down from 2009, when 63.4 million adults, or nearly 27 percent of the population, donated their time.
The volunteer rate has not changed significantly since 2006, hovering around 26 percent. Volunteerism reached nearly 29 percent from 2003 to 2005 and has been as low as 20.4 percent in 1989, says a report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which is based on annual and monthly surveys of roughly 100,000 Americans age 16 or older, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Among the key findings:
- Thirty-five percent of volunteers gave time to religious groups from 2008 to 2010. Nearly 27 percent gave time to educational organizations, while 14 percent worked at social-service groups.
- Volunteers said they spent most of their time on fund raising, collecting and distributing food, tutoring or teaching, and a range of other jobs they described as general labor.
- Utah had the highest share of residents who volunteer, at 45 percent of adults, followed by Iowa (37.9 percent), Minnesota (37.5), Nebraska (37.4), and South Dakota (37.2).
- People in their 30s and early to mid-40s, often called Generation X, had the highest volunteer rate at 29 percent. Just under 29 percent of baby boomers, people in their late 40s and older, volunteered in 2010, while 21 percent of people in their 20s volunteered.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that runs AmeriCorps and other volunteer programs, has posted on its site downloadable data on volunteerism for all 50 states and nearly 200 cities.