One in four Americans volunteered through an organization in 2014, while three in five helped a neighbor, an annual survey by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the National Conference on Citizenship finds.
According to the Volunteering and Civic Life in America survey, 62.8 million adults volunteered nearly 7.96 billion hours worth an estimated $184 billion between September 2013 and September 2014, while the percentage of adults volunteering fell slightly from 25.4 percent to 25.3 percent — the lowest rate since the federal government began collecting data thirteen years ago. The report also found that respondents volunteered most frequently with religious groups (34 percent), followed by education or youth service groups and social or community groups. In addition, more than 138 million Americans (62.5 percent) said they engaged in informal volunteering in their communities, while 36.3 percent were involved in a school, civic, recreational, religious, or other organization.
The volunteer rate was highest for Generation X (ages 33 to 49), at 29.4 percent, while Americans over the age of 75 tended to volunteer the most hours. And while 21.7 percent of all millennials (ages 16 to 32) said they volunteered, those between the ages of 18 and 24 who were in college volunteered at twice the rate (26.6 percent) of those not in college (13.2 percent). The report also ranked volunteer rates by state and metropolitan area, with Utah, Idaho, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Kansas topping the state rankings, and Salt Lake City, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee, Charlotte, and Rochester (MN) topping the city rankings.
"Every day, volunteers of all ages are giving their time and talents to solve problems and make our nation stronger," said CNCS chief executive Wendy Spencer. "Whether tutoring students or connecting veterans to services or responding to natural disasters, Americans are doing extraordinary things to improve lives and strengthen communities. As they serve others, volunteers help themselves by learning new skills, increasing job prospects, and even improving their health."