Volunteering in U.S. Hits Record High; Worth $167 Billion
Utah, Minnesota, Oregon, Iowa, and Alaska top list for volunteer rates
More Americans than ever are volunteering, according to a new federal study released today by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps and Senior Corps.
The 2018 Volunteering in America report found that 77.34 million adults (30.3 percent) volunteered through an organization last year. Altogether, Americans volunteered nearly 6.9 billion hours, worth an estimated $167 billion in economic value, based on the Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour for 2017. Millions more are supporting friends and family (43.1 percent) and doing favors for their neighbors (51.4 percent), suggesting that many are engaged in acts of “informal volunteering.”
The research also found that Americans are generous with more than just their time. Volunteers donate to charity at twice the rate as non-volunteers. Nearly 80 percent of volunteers donated to charity, compared to 40 percent of non-volunteers. Overall, half of all citizens (52.2 percent) donated to charity last year.
Across all categories in the study, volunteers engage in their communities at higher rates than non-volunteers. They more frequently talk to neighbors, participate in civic organizations, fix things in the community, attend public meetings, discuss local issues with family and friends, do favors for neighbors, and vote in local elections.