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Volunteering Levels In America Fall To An All-Time Low

Wilson Perkins Allen Blog Series

 

Last year saw the lowest volunteering levels since the government has been keeping track, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Just over 62 Million Americans volunteered for an organization at least one time between September 2012 and September 2013, the Bureau pointed out, that’s roughly one fourth of all adult Americans.

2002 was the first year that the BLS carried out its survey on the volunteering rate in America, which was higher at 27.6 percent.

The amount of Americans volunteering has declined within the last three years, but it is hard to tell whether the decline last year marks an extensive trend away from volunteering or is an outlier. It also isn’t apparent what might have caused Americans to volunteer less.

 

The drop can’t be attributed to an improving job market, because first of all the job market is still poor and even if the job market was improving,  employed workers consistently volunteer at a higher rate than those out of work.

Although there is a belief that the decline may be related to an aging population, that trend is counteracted  by the fact that people 65 and over have actually volunteered more since 2002.

Interestingly enough, there has been a profound decline in volunteering among white and black Americans, where Hispanics have increased their participation within the last four years.

Women are still significantly more likely to volunteer than men, with a 28.4 percent participate rate versus only 22.2 for men.

And those who are married are more likely to volunteer (30.7 percent) vs. those who aren’t (20.0 percent).

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