Volunteering declines in 2012

February 26, 2013

For the year ending in September 2012, the volunteer rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 26.5 percent. The decline followed an increase of one-half of a percentage point in 2011.

Volunteer rates by selected characteristics, year ending September 2012

Volunteer rates by selected characteristics, year ending September 2012
CharacteristicsPercent of population

Total

26.5

Employment status

 

Employed (part time)

33.4

Employed (full time)

28.1

Unemployed

23.8

Not in labor force

22.4

Educational attainment

 

Less than a high school diploma

8.8

High school graduates, no college

17.3

Some college or associate degree

28.7

Bachelor's degree and higher

42.2

Presence of own children under 18 years

 

Men without own children under 18

20.7

Women without own children under age 18

26.9

Men with own children under 18

30.5

Women with own children under age 18

35.9

Age

 

16 to 19 years

27.4

20 to 24 years

18.9

25 to 34 years

23.2

35 to 44 years

31.6

45 to 54 years

29.3

55 to 64 years

27.6

65 years and over

24.4

Race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

 

White

27.8

Black or African American

21.1

Asian

19.6

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

15.2

Among employed persons, 29.1 percent volunteered during the year ending in September 2012. By comparison, 23.8 percent of unemployed persons and 22.4 percent of those not in the labor force volunteered. Among the employed, part-time workers were more likely than full-time workers to have participated in volunteer activities—33.4 percent compared with 28.1 percent.

By age, 35- to 44-year-olds were most likely to volunteer (31.6 percent). Volunteer rates were lowest among 20- to 24-year-olds (18.9 percent). For persons 45 years and over, the volunteer rate tapered off as age increased. Teens (16- to 19-year-olds) had a volunteer rate of 27.4 percent. 

The volunteer rate of parents with children under age 18 (33.5 percent) remained higher than the rate for persons without children (23.8 percent). Women with children under age 18 volunteered at a higher rate (35.9 percent) than men with children under age 18 (30.5 percent).

Among the major race and ethnicity groups, whites continued to volunteer at a higher rate (27.8 percent) than did blacks (21.1 percent), Asians (19.6 percent), and Hispanics (15.2 percent). Of these groups, the volunteer rate for whites fell 0.4 percentage point in 2012, driven by a decline in the volunteer rate of white women. Among blacks, the rate edged up 0.8 percentage point.

These data were collected through a supplement to the September 2012 Current Population Survey. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. For a variety of information on volunteering, see "Volunteering in the United States—2012," (PDF) (HTML) news release, USDL-13-0285.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Volunteering declines in 2012 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130226.htm (visited September 19, 2014).

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