We continue to be a nation of volunteers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Wednesday released the latest look at American volunteerism. Among the data:
• 25.3 percent of American have engaged in some degree of volunteerism for the year ending in September 2014, compared with 25.4 percent who volunteered in the previous year.
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• About 62.8 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once over the year.
• The volunteer rates for both men and women (22 percent and 28.3 percent respectively) were little changed. Women continued to volunteer at a higher rate than did men across all age groups, educational levels, and other major demographic characteristics.
• By age, 35- to 44-year-olds were most likely to volunteer (29.8 percent). Volunteer rates were lowest among 20- to 24-year-olds (18.7 percent). For persons 45 years and over, the volunteer rate tapered off as age increased. Teenagers (16- to 19-year-olds) had a volunteer rate of 26.1 percent.
• Among the major race and ethnicity groups, whites continued to volunteer at a higher rate (26.7 percent) than did blacks (19.7 percent), Asians (18.2 percent), and Hispanics (15.5 percent). Of these groups, the volunteer rate declined for whites (by 0.4 percentage point) and increased for blacks (by 1.2 percentage points) in 2014. The volunteer rate for Asians edged down by 0.8 percentage point, and the rate for Hispanics was unchanged.
• Married persons volunteered at a higher rate (30.0 percent) in 2014 than did those who had never married (20.2 percent) and those with other marital statuses (21.1 percent).
• Individuals with higher levels of education engaged in volunteer activities at higher rates than did those with less education. Among persons age 25 and over, 39.4 percent of college graduates volunteered, compared with 27.3 percent of persons with some college or an associate's degree, 16.4 percent of high school graduates, and 8.8 percent of those with less than a high school diploma.
• 27.5 percent of employed persons volunteered during the period. By comparison, 24 percent of unemployed persons and 21.8 percent
of those not in the labor force volunteered.
• Volunteers spent a median of 50 hours on volunteer activities during the period.
• Most volunteers were involved with either one or two organizations — 71.4 percent and 18.6 percent respectively.
• The primary organization — the organization for which the volunteer worked the most hours — was most frequently religious (33.3 percent of all volunteers), followed by educational or youth service related (25.1 percent) and social or community service organizations (14.4 percent).
• Of volunteers age 65 and over, 43.0 percent did their service mainly through or for a religious organization, compared with 26.1 percent of volunteers age 16 to 24.