Volunteering rate at 25.4 percent for year ending September 2013

February 28, 2014

For the year ending in September 2013, the volunteer rate declined by 1.1 percentage points to 25.4 percent, the lowest it has been since BLS began collecting comparable statistics about volunteers in 2002. About 62.6 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2012 and September 2013. The volunteer rates for both men and women (22.2 percent and 28.4 percent, respectively) declined.

Volunteer rates by selected characteristics, September 2013
CharacteristicsPercent of population

Total

25.4

Men

22.2

Women

28.4

Age

 

16 to 19 years

26.2

20 to 24 years

18.5

25 to 34 years

21.9

35 to 44 years

30.6

45 to 54 years

28.2

55 to 64 years

26.0

65 years and over

24.1

Race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

 

White

27.1

Black or African American

18.5

Asian

19.0

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

15.5

Educational attainment (25 years and over)

 

Less than a high school diploma

9.0

High school graduates, no college

16.7

Some college or associate degree

27.7

Bachelor's degree and higher

39.8

Employment status

 

Employed (part time)

31.7

Employed (full time)

26.8

Unemployed

24.1

Not in labor force

21.9

By age, 35- to 44-year-olds were most likely to volunteer (30.6 percent). Volunteer rates were lowest among 20- to 24-year-olds (18.5 percent). For persons 45 years and over, the volunteer rate tapered off as age increased. Teens (16- to 19-year-olds) had a volunteer rate of 26.2 percent.

Among the major race and ethnicity groups, whites continued to volunteer at a higher rate (27.1 percent) than did blacks (18.5 percent), Asians (19.0 percent), and Hispanics (15.5 percent). Of these groups, the volunteer rate fell for whites (by 0.7 percentage point) and blacks (by 2.6 percentage points) in 2013. The volunteer rates for Asians and Hispanics were little changed.

Individuals with higher levels of education engaged in volunteer activities at higher rates than did those with less education in 2013. Among persons age 25 and over, 39.8 percent of college graduates volunteered, compared with 27.7 percent of persons with some college or an associate’s degree, 16.7 percent of high school graduates, and 9.0 percent of those with less than a high school diploma.

The main types of activities volunteers performed varied by educational attainment. Persons with a bachelor's degree and higher were more likely than those with less education to provide professional or management assistance or to tutor or teach. Volunteers with less than a high school diploma were more likely to engage in general labor or be an usher, greeter, or minister than those with higher levels of education. 

Main volunteer activities, ranked by educational attainment, persons 25 years and over, September 2013
ActivityLess than a high school diplomaHigh school graduates, no collegeSome college or associate degreeBachelor's degree and higher
Percent distributionRankPercent distributionRankPercent distributionRankPercent distributionRank

Coach, referee or supervise sports teams

5.966.055.285.97

Tutor or teach

8.837.748.4411.41

Mentor youth

3.784.096.257.55

Be an usher, greeter, or minister

8.545.965.193.79

Collect, prepare, distribute, or serve food

15.4115.6112.418.64

Collect, make, or distribute clothing, crafts, or goods other than food

4.775.174.0103.012

Fundraise or sell items to raise money

8.259.2310.4210.13

Provide counseling, medical care, fire/EMS, or protective services

2.1112.3122.7123.211

Provide general office services

2.4104.385.374.38

Provide professional or management assistance, including serving on a board or committee

1.5123.5115.4611.41

Engage in music, performance, or other artistic activities

3.094.093.4113.410

Engage in general labor; supply transportation to people

11.1210.028.536.16
These data were collected through a supplement to the September 2013 Current Population Survey. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. For a variety of information on volunteering, see "Volunteering in the United States — 2013," (PDF) (HTML) news release, USDL-14-0314.
SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Volunteering rate at 25.4 percent for year ending September 2013 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2014/ted_20140228.htm (visited July 29, 2014).

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