13 June 2006
Washington, DC, USA: Volunteering in America: State Trends and Rankings 2002-2005
(PDF, 2.53 MB) is a powerful new tool to assist organizations in developing a strategy and setting goals to increase volunteering in their organization and build the national service and volunteer infrastructure in their states in the USA.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, a US federal agency established in 1993, strives to engage Americans of all ages and backgrounds in voluntary service opportunities to their communities and country. The corporation is the nation’s largest grant maker supporting national and community service programmes and volunteerism.
To support their efforts and provide a valuable resource tool for states, the corporation has produced a report on volunteering in the United States (PDF, 2.53 MB). The report presents data on volunteering and volunteers in an easily accessible format that will be useful to people—whether experienced researchers, policy makers, or just concerned citizens—interested in learning more about volunteering in the states. Data in the report were obtained from the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) within the US Department of Labour. At the request of USA Freedom Corps and through the support of the corporation, the BLS, through the US Census Bureau, has included a “volunteering” supplement in its Current Population Survey (CPS) since 2002. The CPS is a state-based survey administered to approximately 60,000 households nationwide to gather information on employment among the nation’s civilian non-institutionalised population, age 16 or older. CPS data also include demographic characteristics such as age, sex, race, marital status, and educational attainment.
National and Regional Profiles
The national and regional profiles (PDF) provide readers an opportunity to examine volunteering at both the national level and the US Census regional level. These profiles of the Nation, Midwest, Northeast, South, and West present a number of key findings on volunteering in the nation and individual regions, including the numbers of volunteers and the volunteering rates for each of the past four years. In addition, they present, for 2005, volunteer rates according to demographic characteristics, the distribution of hours volunteered, the types of main organizations at which volunteer activities were performed, and the most common activities performed by volunteers. These data are presented through a series of graphics, a table, and bulleted findings.
State Rankings of Volunteering
This section (PDF, 399 KB) consists of six maps of the United States. Each map presents a single volunteering measure in different shades of the same colour. The shades correspond to each state’s rank on the particular volunteering measure reported, the darker the shade, the higher the state’s ranking. On the opposite page of each map is presented a table displaying each state along with its rate and ranking for the corresponding volunteering measure. States are listed in order of the highest rate to the lowest rate in each of these tables. In order to increase the reliability of the estimates and ensure more accurate comparisons across states for each of these measures, the corporation used a combined three-year data file (2003 to 2005). While using three years of data increases the reliability of the estimates, caution should still be used when interpreting state rankings as differences between some rankings may not be statistically significant.
The state profiles (PDF, 80 KB) provide readers an opportunity to examine volunteering at the state level. In these profiles, the corporation presents a number of key findings on volunteering in individual states, including the numbers of volunteers and the volunteering rates for each of the past four years. The profiles include, for the most recent three-year period, volunteer rates according to demographic characteristics, the distribution of hours volunteered, the types of main organizations at which volunteer activities were performed, and the most common activities performed by volunteers in the state. These data are presented through a series of graphics, a table, and bulleted findings.
The Value of Volunteering
The non-profit coalition Independent Sector estimates that the national average value for volunteering is equal to $18.04 an hour. Given this, over the period 2003-2005, America’s volunteers performed the equivalent of nearly $150 billion in service each year, and more than $450 billion over the last three years. This spreadsheet (PDF, 23 KB) depicts the hours of volunteer service provided in each state and the District of Columbia, and the estimated value of those hours using Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour.
Key Volunteer Statistics
This fact sheet (PDF, 71 KB) provides a brief overview of the report’s findings including state volunteer rankings and noteworthy national and state-level facts and trends.
The purpose of this technical note (PDF, 113 KB) is to document data sources, identify differences in the survey instrument from year to year, address issues of statistical reliability, and define terms used in the report. The technical note is split into two sections. The first section restates and combines the technical notes prepared by the BLS for each of the annual reports on Volunteering in the United States from 2002 to 2005. The second section includes additional technical information for this report not covered by the BLS technical note.
Download the report
Volunteering in America - Executive Summary (1.4 MB PDF)
Volunteering in America - Full Report (2.53 MB PDF)
For more information, visit the Corporation for National and Community Service website