spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer
Skip Navigation and Go Directly to Page ContentHOME SeniorCorps SeniorCorps

forms Forms | Advanced Search
FONT SIZE:  Default  |  Large

About Senior Corps 
Hurricane Volunteer Support Fund
In the wake of the recent hurricanes, the Corporation is coordinating volunteers to assist with repair and relief efforts in areas affected by this devastating storm. Your donation will support volunteers in providing food and shelter, managing donations, helping victims get necessary assistance, and long-term rebuilding efforts.
USA Freedom Corps Partnering to Answer the President’s Call to Service

Monday, June 12, 2006

CONTACT: Sandy Scott
Phone: 202-606-6724
Email: [email protected]


New State, Federal Volunteer Service Study Released; Nationally, Women with Jobs, Kids Lead the Way


West and South See Fastest Volunteer Growth; Utah #1 in Most Measures

(Washington, D.C.) – A first-ever federal report released today by the Corporation for National and Community Service finds that states vary widely in how, when, and what percent of their citizens volunteer, while in every state women volunteer at a higher rate than men, and women with children and women who work have higher volunteer rates than other women. The study also found that of America’s 65.5 million adult volunteers, more serve through religious organizations than any other type of organization.

“Volunteering in America: State Trends and Rankings” is based upon the most statistically significant study of volunteering ever conducted in America – an annual survey of 60,000 households begun in 2002 by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is the first study to give a detailed breakdown of America’s volunteering habits and patterns by state and region. The full report, including highlights, state-by-state rankings, profiles of volunteering in each region and state, statistical tables, and technical notes, is available at

“This Administration, together with the nation’s leading volunteer-based organizations and service commissions in every state, wants to see millions more Americans bringing hope and solutions to our communities through volunteering – 10 million more, in fact, by 2010,” said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent Federal agency. “The study we’re releasing today will help every state create stronger volunteer networks by showing what’s working, what’s not, and highlight the best opportunities to engage citizens in the future.”

On a national level, 65.4 million or 28.8 percent of American adults volunteered in 2005, an increase of nearly six million volunteers since 2002. American volunteers spent a median of 50 hours per year volunteering, and gave a total of 8.2 billion hours of volunteer service in 2005. Using Independent Sector’s estimate of the dollar value of a volunteer’s time, volunteering in America equated to a value of $147.6 billion dollars in 2005. The typical American volunteer is a white female who gives 50 hours per year volunteering through a religious organization as a tutor, mentor, coach, or referee.

Among key findings, the study reveals that:

  • Females volunteer at significantly higher rates than do males in every state; nationwide, women with children under age 18 volunteer at a significantly higher rate (39.9%) than do women without young children (29%), and women who work volunteer at a significantly higher rate (36.1%) than women who do not work (27.2%).
  • The greatest percentage of volunteers serve primarily through religious organizations (34.8%).
  • The highest regional volunteer rate last year was in the Midwest, at 33.3%. The largest growth in volunteering since 2002 has come from the South (2.4 million) and the West (2 million).
  • The top volunteer activities by category are mentoring, tutoring, coaching, and refereeing (35%), fundraising (29.7%) and collecting, preparing, distributing, or serving food (26.3%).
  • Adult volunteering generally follows a life cycle, with people age 35-54 volunteering at the highest rate, and rates subsequently declining as people age, particularly for individuals over 65.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our nation. From schools and shelters to hospitals and hotlines, volunteers are vital to America’s social and economic well-being,” said Eisner. “By giving us a clear picture of who volunteers, this report is a powerful tool for expanding volunteering in America.”

The Corporation is the nation’s largest grant maker for volunteering and service, and it administers the Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs. It will be working with a broad-based coalition of nonprofit, corporate, and government leaders to increase the number of volunteers in America from its current level of 65 million to 75 million by the year 2010. This initiative, called “10 by 10,” will be launched at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, an annual gathering of volunteer sector leaders taking place June 18-20 in Seattle. The Corporation put forth the 10 million goal as part of its five- year Strategic Plan released in February 2006.

“It is encouraging to see there is an increasing trend of Americans from diverse backgrounds who are responding to President Bush’s call to service. However, there is still a need for more Americans to understand how serving their neighbors would have positive social and economic effects at the local and national levels,” said Desiree T. Sayle, who is the Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush and Director of USA Freedom Corps. “We at USA Freedom Corps have great expectations that this report will be resourceful in helping to expand volunteer service in America.”

In terms of state and regional differences, the study found that:

  • One state – Utah – led the nation in virtually all categories of volunteering, including highest volunteer rate (48%), annual hours donated by a typical volunteer (96), and overall volunteer rates by seniors (51.8%), college students (62.9%), and young adults (45.4%).
  • The volunteer rate in the Midwest is 29% higher than the rate in the Northeast, 21.5% higher than the rate in the South, and 14% higher than the rate in the West.
  • The states with the highest volunteering rates are Utah (48%), Nebraska (42.8), Minnesota (40.7), Iowa (39.2), and Alaska (38.9) – all well above the national average of 28.8 percent.
  • The states with the highest number of hours contributed by the typical volunteer are Utah (96), Idaho (64), and Arizona, Maryland and Montana (60) – all above the national median of 50 hours.
  • In general, volunteer rates for minorities (race and ethnicity) are substantially lower than non-Hispanic whites in most states.
  • While the influence of religion and the size of a state’s rural population appear to have an overall positive influence on volunteer rates, some states with lower religious activity or substantial urban populations (such as Vermont and Michigan, respectively) have very strong volunteer rates. Meanwhile, Bible Belt states have a lower volunteer rate than most Midwest and West states.

Robert Grimm, Director of the Corporation’s Office of Research and Policy Development, noted how the changing demographics of America could have a substantial impact on the future of volunteering. “The fact that minorities have lower volunteer rates may suggest that organizations will need to reach out to them more in the future or face volunteer shortages as white non-Hispanics become a smaller part of the U.S. population. Similarly, with the aging of the boomer population, we need to challenge ourselves to make sure their volunteering prevalence does not decline,” said Grimm.

“We believe that a better future for all Americans includes a more widespread culture of service and volunteering,” said Eisner. “We are committed to working with volunteer and service-driven organizations everywhere to expand the number of Americans who volunteer by 15 percent over the next five years. America needs more mentors for our youth, companions for our elderly, and helpers after disasters. I encourage any American who wants to make a difference to visit to find the right volunteer opportunity for you.”


“Volunteering in America: State Trends and Rankings” presents an overview of volunteering at both the national and regional levels, as well as state rankings on volunteering indicators such as volunteering rate and intensity, and volunteering among seniors and students. The report features a two-page state profile for each state and the District of Columbia that displays information on the number of people volunteering, the volunteering rate, the number of hours volunteered, the primary organizations at which volunteers perform work, and the types of activities volunteers perform in each state. The report is based on data obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics through a “volunteering supplement” to the Current Population Survey (CPS) from 2002 to 2005. The volunteer supplement is administered annually to approximately 60,000 households nationwide.

The Corporation for National and Community Service improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. Each year, the Corporation provides opportunities for nearly 2 million Americans of all ages and backgrounds to serve their communities and country through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America. National service participants help thousands of national and community nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups, schools, and local agencies meet critical community needs in education, the environment, public safety, disaster response, and other areas. Together with the USA Freedom Corps, the Corporation is working to build a culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility in America. For more information, go to


gray line