Economic News Release

Volunteering in the United States, 2014

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Wednesday, February 25, 2015			USDL-15-0280

Technical information:	(202) 691-6378  •  cpsinfo@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/cps
Media contact:		(202) 691-5902  •  PressOffice@bls.gov

	
		VOLUNTEERING IN THE UNITED STATES -- 2014


The volunteer rate was little changed at 25.3 percent for the year ending in 
September 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. About 62.8
million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between
September 2013 and September 2014. The volunteer rate in 2013 was 25.4 percent.

These data on volunteering were collected through a supplement to the September
2014 Current Population Survey (CPS). The supplement was sponsored by the
Corporation for National and Community Service. The CPS is a monthly survey of
about 60,000 households that obtains information on employment and unemployment
for the nation's civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over. Volunteers
are defined as persons who did unpaid work (except for expenses) through or for
an organization. For more information about the volunteer supplement, see the
Technical Note.

Volunteering Among Demographic Groups

The volunteer rates for both men and women (22.0 percent and 28.3 percent,
respectively) were little changed in the year ending in September 2014. Women
continued to volunteer at a higher rate than did men across all age groups,
educational levels, and other major demographic characteristics. (See tables
A and 1.)

By age, 35- to 44-year-olds were most likely to volunteer (29.8 percent).
Volunteer rates were lowest among 20- to 24-year-olds (18.7 percent). For persons
45 years and over, the volunteer rate tapered off as age increased. Teenagers
(16- to 19-year-olds) had a volunteer rate of 26.1 percent.

Among the major race and ethnicity groups, whites continued to volunteer at a
higher rate (26.7 percent) than did blacks (19.7 percent), Asians (18.2 percent),
and Hispanics (15.5 percent). Of these groups, the volunteer rate declined for
whites (by 0.4 percentage point) and increased for blacks (by 1.2 percentage
points) in 2014. The volunteer rate for Asians edged down by 0.8 percentage point,
and the rate for Hispanics was unchanged.

Married persons volunteered at a higher rate (30.0 percent) in 2014 than did those
who had never married (20.2 percent) and those with other marital statuses
(21.1 percent). Over the year, the rate declined for married persons by 0.7
percentage point. In 2014, the volunteer rate of parents with children under age
18 (31.6 percent) remained higher than the rate for persons without children under 
age 18 (23.0 percent). The volunteer rate of parents with children under age 18 
declined over the year, while the rate for persons without children under age 18
was little changed.

Individuals with higher levels of education engaged in volunteer activities at
higher rates than did those with less education in 2014. Among persons age 25 and
over, 39.4 percent of college graduates volunteered, compared with 27.3 percent of
persons with some college or an associate's degree, 16.4 percent of high school
graduates, and 8.8 percent of those with less than a high school diploma. The rate
of volunteering was little changed over the year for persons across all levels of
educational attainment.

Volunteers by Employment Status

During the year ending in September 2014, 27.5 percent of employed persons
volunteered. By comparison, 24.0 percent of unemployed persons and 21.8 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--
31.7 percent, compared with 26.5 percent. (See table 1.)

Total Annual Hours Spent Volunteering

Volunteers spent a median of 50 hours on volunteer activities during the period from
September 2013 to September 2014. Time spent on volunteer activities was similar for
women and men. Among those who volunteered, median annual hours spent on volunteer
activities ranged from a low of 32 hours for those 25 to 34 years old to a high of
96 hours for those age 65 and over. (See table 2.)

Number and Type of Organizations

Most volunteers were involved with either one or two organizations--71.4 percent and
18.6 percent, respectively. Individuals with higher educational attainment were more
likely to volunteer for multiple organizations than were those with less education.
(See table 3.)

In 2014, the main organization--the organization for which the volunteer worked the
most hours during the year--was most frequently religious (33.3 percent of all
volunteers), followed by educational or youth service related (25.1 percent) and
social or community service organizations (14.4 percent). (See table 4.)

Older volunteers were more likely to volunteer mainly for religious organizations
than were their younger counterparts. Of volunteers age 65 and over, 43.0 percent
did their service mainly through or for a religious organization, compared with 26.1
percent of volunteers age 16 to 24.

For all levels of educational attainment, volunteers were most likely to volunteer
for religious organizations, followed by educational or youth service organizations.
Among volunteers with less than a high school diploma, 49.6 percent volunteered
mainly for religious organizations and 21.3 percent volunteered for educational or
youth service organizations. Of volunteers with a bachelor's degree and higher, 30.0
percent volunteered mainly for religious organizations and 26.8 percent volunteered
mainly for educational or youth service organizations.

Among volunteers with children under age 18, 46.0 percent of mothers and 38.6 percent
of fathers volunteered mainly for an educational or youth service organization, such
as a school or scouting group. Volunteers without children under age 18 were more
likely than parents to volunteer for all other types of organizations.

Main Volunteer Activity for Main Organization

Collecting, preparing, distributing, or serving food (10.8 percent); fundraising
(10.3 percent); and tutoring or teaching (9.3 percent) were the activities volunteers
performed most frequently for their main organization. Men and women tended to engage
in different main activities. Men who volunteered were most likely to engage in general
labor (11.5 percent) or coach, referee, or supervise sports teams (9.4 percent).
Female volunteers were most likely to collect, prepare, distribute, or serve food
(12.1 percent); fundraise (11.6 percent); or tutor or teach (11.1 percent). 
(See table 5.)

The main types of activities volunteers performed varied by educational attainment.
Persons with a bachelor's degree and higher were more likely than those with less
education to provide professional or management assistance or to tutor or teach. 
Volunteers with less than a high school diploma were more likely to collect, prepare,
distribute, or serve food or engage in general labor than were those with higher levels
of education.

Parents with children under age 18 were more likely than those without children under
age 18 to engage mainly in volunteer activities that are frequently related to children--
including coaching, refereeing, or supervising sports teams; tutoring or teaching; and
mentoring youth.

How Volunteers Became Involved with Main Organization

In 2014, the proportion of volunteers who became involved with their main organization
after being asked to volunteer (41.0 percent) was about the same as the proportion
who became involved on their own--that is, those who approached the organization (40.8
percent). Those who were asked to volunteer were most often asked by someone in the
organization. (See table 6.)



Table A.  Volunteers by selected characteristics, September 2010 through September 2014
(Numbers in thousands)                                                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                                      
                                             September 2010        September 2011        September 2012        September 2013        September 2014   
                                                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                                      
                                           Number   Percent of   Number   Percent of   Number   Percent of   Number   Percent of   Number   Percent of
                                                    population            population            population            population            population
                                                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                                      
                  Sex                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                      
Total, both sexes.......................   62,790       26.3     64,252       26.8     64,513       26.5     62,615       25.4     62,757       25.3  
 Men....................................   26,787       23.2     27,354       23.5     27,238       23.2     26,404       22.2     26,375       22.0  
 Women .................................   36,004       29.3     36,898       29.9     37,274       29.5     36,211       28.4     36,381       28.3  
                                                                                                                                                      
                  Age                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                      
Total, 16 years and over................   62,790       26.3     64,252       26.8     64,513       26.5     62,615       25.4     62,757       25.3  
 16 to 24 years.........................    8,297       21.9      8,578       22.5      8,776       22.6      8,466       21.8      8,469       21.9  
 25 to 34 years.........................    9,140       22.3      9,691       23.3      9,513       23.2      9,118       21.9      9,291       22.0  
 35 to 44 years.........................   12,904       32.2     12,566       31.8     12,527       31.6     12,098       30.6     11,783       29.8  
 45 to 54 years.........................   13,435       30.3     13,420       30.6     12,777       29.3     12,184       28.2     12,204       28.5  
 55 to 64 years.........................    9,830       27.2     10,449       28.1     10,619       27.6     10,191       26.0     10,331       25.9  
 65 years and over......................    9,184       23.6      9,547       24.0     10,301       24.4     10,558       24.1     10,679       23.6  
                                                                                                                                                      
 Race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                                      
White...................................   53,556       27.8     54,432       28.2     53,778       27.8     52,685       27.1     52,201       26.7  
Black or African American...............    5,580       19.4      5,934       20.3      6,316       21.1      5,637       18.5      6,094       19.7  
Asian...................................    2,207       19.6      2,304       20.0      2,524       19.6      2,525       19.0      2,513       18.2  
Hispanic or Latino ethnicity............    4,982       14.7      5,151       14.9      5,635       15.2      5,838       15.5      5,982       15.5  
                                                                                                                                                      
       Educational attainment (1)                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                      
Less than a high school diploma.........    2,231        8.8      2,461        9.8      2,177        8.8      2,204        9.0      2,100        8.8  
High school graduates, no college (2)...   10,887       17.9     11,049       18.2     10,527       17.3     10,138       16.7     10,075       16.4  
Some college or associate degree........   15,505       29.2     15,946       29.5     15,832       28.7     15,562       27.7     15,494       27.3  
Bachelor's degree and higher (3)........   25,870       42.3     26,218       42.4     27,202       42.2     26,244       39.8     26,619       39.4  
                                                                                                                                                      
           Employment status                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                                      
Civilian labor force....................   44,522       28.7     45,249       29.1     44,974       28.7     43,162       27.5     42,780       27.3  
 Employed...............................   40,980       29.2     41,881       29.6     42,083       29.1     40,401       27.7     40,497       27.5  
  Full time (4).........................   31,625       28.2     32,517       28.7     32,568       28.1     31,524       26.8     31,557       26.5  
  Part time (5).........................    9,355       33.2      9,363       33.3      9,515       33.4      8,877       31.7      8,940       31.7  
 Unemployed.............................    3,542       23.8      3,368       23.8      2,891       23.8      2,761       24.1      2,283       24.0  
Not in the labor force..................   18,268       22.0     19,003       22.5     19,539       22.4     19,452       21.9     19,977       21.8  

  1 Data refer to persons 25 years and over.
  2 Includes persons with a high school diploma or equivalent.
  3 Includes persons with bachelor's, master's, professional, and doctoral degrees.
  4 Usually work 35 hours or more a week at all jobs.
  5 Usually work less than 35 hours a week at all jobs.
  NOTE: Estimates for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not presented for all
races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the
release of January data. Data on volunteers relate to persons who performed unpaid volunteer activities for an organization at any point in the year
ending in September. See the Technical Note for further information.



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Last Modified Date: February 25, 2015
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