Volunteer rate down slightly for the year ending in September 2015

March 09, 2016

About 62.6 million people, or 24.9 percent of the population 16 years and older, volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2014 and September 2015. The volunteer rate was down 0.4 percentage point from the same period a year earlier, when it was 25.3 percent. The volunteer rate for men was 21.8 percent for the year ending in September 2015, and the rate for women was 27.8 percent. For the year ending September 2011, the overall volunteer rate was 26.8 percent, while the rate for men was 23.5 percent and the rate for women was 29.9 percent.

Volunteer rate for the population 16 years and older, men and women, September 2011–September 2015
Year ending Total Men Women
Number Percent of population Number Percent of population Number Percent of population

September 2011

64,252,000 26.8% 27,354,000 23.5% 36,898,000 29.9%

September 2012

64,513,000 26.5 27,238,000 23.2 37,274,000 29.5

September 2013

62,615,000 25.4 26,404,000 22.2 36,211,000 28.4

September 2014

62,757,000 25.3 26,375,000 22.0 36,381,000 28.3

September 2015

62,623,000 24.9 26,498,000 21.8 36,126,000 27.8

The main organization where volunteers worked was most often religious (33.1 percent of all volunteers). Many volunteers also worked at educational or youth service organizations (25.2 percent) and social or community service organizations (14.6 percent). The tasks volunteers performed most often for their main organization were collecting, preparing, distributing, or serving food (11.3 percent of volunteers). Other common tasks were tutoring or teaching (9.2 percent) and fundraising (9.0 percent).

Men and women performed different main activities when they volunteered in 2015. Men were most likely to engage in general labor (12.3 percent); coach, referee, or supervise sports teams (9.3 percent); or collect, prepare, distribute, or serve food (9.2 percent). Women were most likely to collect, prepare, distribute, or serve food (12.9 percent); tutor or teach (10.6 percent); or do fundraising (9.9 percent).

These data are from questions asked in the September 2015 Current Population Survey. To learn more, see “Volunteering in the United States – 2015” (HTML) (PDF). Volunteers are people who performed unpaid volunteer activities through or for an organization at any point during the survey reference year. The main organization is the one for which the volunteer worked the most hours during the year.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Volunteer rate down slightly for the year ending in September 2015 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/volunteer-rate-down-slightly-for-the-year-ending-in-september-2015.htm (visited June 23, 2017).

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