Volunteering declines in 2012
February 26, 2013
For the year ending in September 2012, the volunteer rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 26.5 percent. The decline followed an increase of one-half of a percentage point in 2011.
|Characteristics||Percent of population|
Employed (part time)
Employed (full time)
Not in labor force
Less than a high school diploma
High school graduates, no college
Some college or associate degree
Bachelor's degree and higher
Presence of own children under 18 years
Men without own children under 18
Women without own children under age 18
Men with own children under 18
Women with own children under age 18
16 to 19 years
20 to 24 years
25 to 34 years
35 to 44 years
45 to 54 years
55 to 64 years
65 years and over
Race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino ethnicity
Among employed persons, 29.1 percent volunteered during the year ending in September 2012. By comparison, 23.8 percent of unemployed persons and 22.4 percent of those not in the labor force volunteered. Among the employed, part-time workers were more likely than full-time workers to have participated in volunteer activities—33.4 percent compared with 28.1 percent.
By age, 35- to 44-year-olds were most likely to volunteer (31.6 percent). Volunteer rates were lowest among 20- to 24-year-olds (18.9 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 27.4 percent.
The volunteer rate of parents with children under age 18 (33.5 percent) remained higher than the rate for persons without children (23.8 percent). Women with children under age 18 volunteered at a higher rate (35.9 percent) than men with children under age 18 (30.5 percent).
Among the major race and ethnicity groups, whites continued to volunteer at a higher rate (27.8 percent) than did blacks (21.1 percent), Asians (19.6 percent), and Hispanics (15.2 percent). Of these groups, the volunteer rate for whites fell 0.4 percentage point in 2012, driven by a decline in the volunteer rate of white women. Among blacks, the rate edged up 0.8 percentage point.
These data were collected through a supplement to the September 2012 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—2012," (PDF) (HTML) news release, USDL-13-0285.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Volunteering declines in 2012 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130226.htm (visited August 15, 2018).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
Race, Economics, and Social Status
Examines Consumer Expenditure Survey data to explore social and economic factors by race and ethnicity.
African Americans in the U.S. Labor Force
A look at employment and unemployment trends of African Americans from 1972 to 2016 and projected to 2026.
Industry on Tap: Breweries
A look at employment, wages, and job safety in breweries and producer prices for beer.
Differences in Parents’ Time Use between the Summer and the School Year
A look at how parents of school-age children spend their time in the summer and the school year.