One in four Americans volunteered through an organization in 2013, while roughly two-thirds helped a neighbor, an annual survey conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the National Conference on Citizenship finds.
According to the report, Volunteering and Civic Life in America, 62.6 million adults — or 25.4 percent of survey respondents, down slightly from 26.5 percent in 2012 — volunteered a total of nearly 7.7 billion hours in 2013, with the estimated value of that service totaling some $173 billion. The survey also found that more than 138 million Americans (62.5 percent) engaged in informal volunteering activities in their communities, while more than a third (36.3 percent) said they were involved in a school, recreational, religious, or civic organization.
The volunteer rate was highest among survey respondents between the ages of 35 and 44 (31.3 percent), followed by those between the ages of 45 and 54 (29.4 percent). The report also found that parents who had children under age 18 volunteered at a higher rate (32.9 percent) than those who didn't (22.7 percent); that more than a fifth (21.7 percent ) of millennials volunteered; and that young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 who were attending college volunteered at nearly double the rate (26.7 percent) of those who were not attending college (13.5 percent).
"The civic health of our country is strong when people trust and help their neighbors and engage with their government," said Ilir Zherka, executive director of the National Conference on Citizenship. "Civic engagement is essential to the life our country. That's why all sectors of society from nonprofits, to businesses, to our government must redouble their efforts to promote greater connections among Americans."