February 28, 2014
For the year ending in September 2013, the volunteer rate declined by 1.1 percentage points to 25.4 percent, the lowest it has been since BLS began collecting comparable statistics about volunteers in 2002. About 62.6 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2012 and September 2013. The volunteer rates for both men and women (22.2 percent and 28.4 percent, respectively) declined.
|Characteristics||Percent of population|
16 to 19 years
20 to 24 years
25 to 34 years
35 to 44 years
45 to 54 years
55 to 64 years
65 years and over
Race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino ethnicity
Educational attainment (25 years and over)
Less than a high school diploma
High school graduates, no college
Some college or associate degree
Bachelor's degree and higher
Employed (part time)
Employed (full time)
Not in labor force
By age, 35- to 44-year-olds were most likely to volunteer (30.6 percent). Volunteer rates were lowest among 20- to 24-year-olds (18.5 percent). For persons 45 years and over, the volunteer rate tapered off as age increased. Teens (16- to 19-year-olds) had a volunteer rate of 26.2 percent.
Among the major race and ethnicity groups, whites continued to volunteer at a higher rate (27.1 percent) than did blacks (18.5 percent), Asians (19.0 percent), and Hispanics (15.5 percent). Of these groups, the volunteer rate fell for whites (by 0.7 percentage point) and blacks (by 2.6 percentage points) in 2013. The volunteer rates for Asians and Hispanics were little changed.
Individuals with higher levels of education engaged in volunteer activities at higher rates than did those with less education in 2013. Among persons age 25 and over, 39.8 percent of college graduates volunteered, compared with 27.7 percent of persons with some college or an associate’s degree, 16.7 percent of high school graduates, and 9.0 percent of those with less than a high school diploma.
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 engage in general labor or be an usher, greeter, or minister than those with higher levels of education.
|Activity||Less than a high school diploma||High school graduates, no college||Some college or associate degree||Bachelor's degree and higher|
|Percent distribution||Rank||Percent distribution||Rank||Percent distribution||Rank||Percent distribution||Rank|
Coach, referee or supervise sports teams
Tutor or teach
Be an usher, greeter, or minister
Collect, prepare, distribute, or serve food
Collect, make, or distribute clothing, crafts, or goods other than food
Fundraise or sell items to raise money
Provide counseling, medical care, fire/EMS, or protective services
Provide general office services
Provide professional or management assistance, including serving on a board or committee
Engage in music, performance, or other artistic activities
Engage in general labor; supply transportation to people
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Volunteering rate at 25.4 percent for year ending September 2013 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2014/ted_20140228.htm (visited December 22, 2014).