NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Americans Volunteer an Average of One Hour a Week

December 31, 2002

In the first major study of volunteerism in more than a decade, the Labor Department has estimated that 59 million Americans -- or 27.6 percent of the civilian population 16 and over -- do volunteer work. Americans put in an average of 52 hours of volunteer work during a year.

  • The survey of 60,000 households revealed that religious, educational and youth-related organizations had the greatest number of volunteers.
  • The volunteer rate was higher among women than men.
  • Employed persons were more likely to volunteer than those who were unemployed or out of the labor force.
  • Those in the 35 to 54 age group were most likely to volunteer -- with one-third donating their time.

Volunteer rates were lowest among senior citizens and those in their early 20s.

Source: Associated Press, "Americans Volunteer at Rate of 28 Percent," Washington Times, December 31, 2002.


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