February 23, 2012
Following a decline of equal size in 2010, the volunteer rate rose by 0.5 percentage point to 26.8 percent for the year ending in September 2011. From September 2010 to September 2011, about 64.3 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once.
In the year ending in September 2011, the volunteer rate of women increased from 29.3 percent to 29.9 percent, while the volunteer rate for men, at 23.5 percent, changed little.
Among the major race and ethnicity groups, whites continued to volunteer at a higher rate (28.2 percent) than did blacks (20.3 percent), Asians (20.0 percent), and Hispanics (14.9 percent). The volunteer rate for blacks increased in 2011. For all other major race and ethnicity groups, the volunteer rates were little different from the rates in 2010.
By age, 35- to 44-year-olds and 45- to 54-year-olds were the most likely to volunteer (31.8 and 30.6 percent, respectively). Persons in their early twenties were the least likely to volunteer (19.4 percent).
From September 2010 to September 2011, individuals with higher levels of educational attainment engaged in volunteer activities at higher rates than did those with less education. Among persons age 25 and over, 42.4 percent of college graduates volunteered, compared with 18.2 percent of high school graduates, and 9.8 percent of those with less than a high school diploma.
Among the employed, part-time workers were more likely than full-time workers to have participated in volunteer activities—33.3 percent compared with 28.7 percent. By comparison, 23.8 percent of unemployed persons and 22.5 percent of those not in the labor force volunteered.
These data were collected through a supplement to the September 2011 Current Population Survey (CPS). For a variety of information on volunteering, see "Volunteering in the United States, 2011," (PDF) (HTML) news release, USDL-12-0329.