US Volunteer Numbers Jump
16 June 2010 at 12:25 pm
Despite difficult economic times, the number of Americans volunteering in their communities jumped by 1.6 million last year, the largest increase in six years, according to a report released by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
- Overall 63.4 million Americans (age 16 and older) volunteered in 2009, an increase of almost 1.6 million since 2008.This is the first significant increase in the volunteer rate and the largest single year increase in the volunteer numbers since 2003.
- For the fifth year in a row, Utah was the top volunteer state with a volunteer rate of 44.2%, followed by Iowa (37.8%), Minnesota (37.5%), Nebraska (37.4%), and Alaska (37.3%). Iowa climbed from the 5th ranked state last year to the 2nd this year.
- Minneapolis-St. Paul once again ranked number one among large cities at 37.4%, followed by Portland, OR (37.1%), Salt Lake City, UT (35.8%), Seattle, WA (34.9%), and Oklahoma City, OK (33.9%).
- Mid-size cities, particularly those in the Midwest, have on average higher volunteer rates than large cities, and residents of mid-size cities contribute more hours to volunteering.
- Among 75 mid-sized cities, Provo, Utah, led the nation for the third year in a row with a whopping 63.6 percent volunteer rate, followed by Iowa City (50.0%), Ogden, UT (47.7%), Fort Collins, CO (40.7%) and Madison, WI (40.0%).
- Women again volunteered at higher rates then men. Working mothers have the highest volunteer rates.
- Rates increased among African Americans, especially women, this year more than among other groups. The rate of volunteerism among African Americans climbed from 19.1% in 2008 to 20.0% in 2009, and increased by 1.6% among African American women.
- The research found that higher rates of homeownership, lower rates of foreclosure, shorter average commute times, more robust Not for Profit infrastructure, lower poverty rates, and higher education levels are all related to higher rates of volunteering.
- Factors such as the prevalence of multi-unit housing, higher poverty rates, and longer commuting times are associated with lower volunteer rates.