Americans Devoted 8.1 Billion Hours to Volunteering in 2010 – New Report
Thursday, 18th August 2011 at 2:41 pm
US Volunteers provide a powerful economic and social benefit to their communities with 62.8 million adults serving almost 8.1 billion hours through organisations in 2010, according to new research by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
The agency’s annual Volunteering in America research finds that America’s volunteers provided services valued at nearly $US173 billion to communities last year, using Independent Sector’s estimate of the dollar value of volunteer time. ($US21.36 per hour)
Notably, Generation X volunteers (born 1965-1981) devoted more time to service in 2010 than they ever have before, giving more than 2.3 billion hours—an increase of almost 110 million hours over 2009.
Generation X members more than doubled their volunteer rate between 1989 and the present day, from 12.3 percent in 1989 to 29.2 percent in 2010.
While the overall national volunteer rate dipped slightly from 26.8 percent in 2009 to 26.3 percent in 2010, the number of hours volunteers served remained approximately the same at 8.1 billion hours, indicating many volunteers committed more hours to service.
The proportion of volunteers who serve 100 hours or more appears to have increased between 2009 and 2010 from 33.2 percent to 33.8 percent, and the median number of hours served per volunteer appears to have increased from 50 to 52 per year.
Other findings about the volunteers include:
- Teen volunteer rates have stayed consistently higher between 2002 and 2010 than they were in 1989,possibly reflecting the spread of service-learning in schools across the country, the influence of parental volunteering, and the rise of technology that makes it easier for teens to find volunteer opportunities.
- Volunteer rates for young adults (ages 20 to 24) tend to be lower than teenage volunteer rates, but the national volunteer rate tends to increase with age until mid-life. The peak years for volunteering generally tend to occur between the mid-thirties to early forties.
- The volunteer rate then declines as volunteers grow older, but the decline in volunteer rates in older adulthood has become less severe over time. Some researchers believe this reflects the fact that more Americans are staying healthier longer and that volunteering has become a more recognized strategy for staying healthy in older adulthood.
- As volunteers fill critical voids in their community’s infrastructure, state and local leaders increasingly recognize the key role volunteers play in addressing economic and social challenges at a time of fiscal constraint.
The Volunteering in America report is a partnership between the Corporation for National and Community Service, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Bureau for Labor Statistics to collect volunteering data annually through the Current Population Survey’s (CPS) Supplement on Volunteering.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) report can be found at www.VolunteeringInAmerica.gov.