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Joanne Fritz

Americans Volunteering More than Ever

By December 13, 2012

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Volunteer being trained by another.

The recent report on volunteering from the Corporation for National & Community Service reveals that there is much diversity in the way Americans volunteer now, and that there is a whole lot of it going on.

The report, which covers 2011, found that volunteering is up. In fact it has reached a five-year high, with 1.5 million more people giving their time and energy than in 2010. Altogether, one in four (64.3 million) Americans gave 7.9 billion hours to help others. All that time is valued at $171 billion.

On top of that, "informal" volunteering, outside the boundaries of any organization, engaged two out of three of us (143.7 million!). That is an increase of 9.5 percentage points from the previous year.

We ran more errands for friends, helped out our neighbors, and generally did what we didn't have to do. Any scan of the news headlines lately (think Superstorm Sandy) tells us that people are quick to respond to those in need in any way possible.

In addition, the report found, almost half of us participate in civic, religious, and school groups. We're a busy bunch!

Who volunteers the most? Not too surprisingly, it's parents. The volunteer rate is seven points higher than the national average for this group.

School activities are strong draws for parents, with more than 40% of them volunteering at schools or other youth serving organizations. Even among working mothers, the volunteer rate is 40%.

Where do people volunteer the most? For states, Utah, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota take the prize.

Among metro areas, the top volunteer rates were in Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI; Rochester, NY; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA; Salt Lake City, UT; and Jacksonville, FL.

Explore the stats here.

More About Volunteering:

Photo: Clarissa Leahy/Getty Images

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