States Volunteering the Most

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Downtown Boise Idaho just after sundown with Capital building
Source: Thinkstock

5. Idaho
> Volunteer rate: 34.1%
> Adults with at least a high school diploma: 90.0% (tied – 21st highest)
> Total value of volunteer work in 2015: $983.8M (13th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 3.7% (11th lowest)

Slightly more than 34% of Idaho adults volunteer annually, compared to 24.9% nationwide. Not only are Idaho residents more likely to volunteer, but they also volunteer more of their time than is typical across the country. State residents volunteered the equivalent of 37.6 hours per capita in 2015, nearly the equivalent of a full work week and a about 7 more hours than the comparable national figure.

Churches and religious groups account for the largest share of volunteers in Idaho, followed by education and youth service organizations.

Rapid City, South Dakota, USA
Source: Thinkstock

4. South Dakota
> Volunteer rate: 35.3%
> Adults with at least a high school diploma: 91.1% (13th highest)
> Total value of volunteer work in 2015: $542.7M (5th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 2.8% (tied – 3rd lowest)

There are more Midwestern states with high volunteer participation than any other region in the country. In South Dakota, 35.3% of residents 16 and older volunteer on a yearly basis, far higher than the 24.9% of Americans nationwide. As with most states, churches and religious organizations account for the largest share of volunteers, followed by educational or youth services.

Widespread volunteerism in South Dakota is likely bolstered by shorter commuting times. People with longer commutes can have less free time to volunteer, and in South Dakota, the average commute is only 17 minutes, the second shortest of any state in the country.

Traditional american red farm with tractor, Wisconsin
Source: Thinkstock

3. Wisconsin
> Volunteer rate: 35.3%
> Adults with at least a high school diploma: 91.4% (11th highest)
> Total value of volunteer work in 2015: $4.40B (15th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.0% (tied – 17th lowest)

There are only six states in the country where over a third of the adult population volunteers each year, and Wisconsin is one of them. The state is one of several in the Midwest with especially high volunteer participation rates. Not only are Wisconsin residents more likely to volunteer than most Americans, but they also volunteer more of their time. Residents in Wisconsin volunteered the equivalent of 42.9 hours in 2015, more per capita than every state except Utah.

The majority of volunteers in Wisconsin are mobilized either through their church or religious group, or an educational or youth organization.

Minnesota welcomes you sign
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2. Minnesota
> Volunteer rate: 35.4%
> Adults with at least a high school diploma: 92.8% (3rd highest)
> Total value of volunteer work in 2015: $3.57B (20th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 3.9% (14th lowest)

About 35.4% of adults in Minnesota volunteer each year, dedicating a total of 141.8 million hours in 2015 alone. Nationwide, volunteerism rates are higher among adults with jobs and those with high school diplomas. In Minnesota, low unemployment and relatively high education levels may partially account for the relatively large share of the population that volunteers. Some 92.8% of Minnesota adults have at least a high school diploma, well above the 87.1% share nationwide. Additionally, only 3.9% of the state’s labor force is unemployed, below the 4.7% national rate.

Community pride is often a motivation for volunteer work. Homeowners are often invested in their community and have an interest in its long-term prosperity, and Minnesota’s 70.9% homeownership rate is the third highest in the country.

Provo Temple and Fountain, Utah
Source: Thinkstock

1. Utah
> Volunteer rate: 43.2%
> Adults with at least a high school diploma: 91.5% (10th highest)
> Total value of volunteer work in 2015: $3.89B (18th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 3.1% (tied – 8th lowest)

No state has a higher rate of volunteerism than Utah. Each year, about 43.2% of the state’s adult population volunteers, far higher than the national 24.9% rate. Utah is home to nearly a third of the total U.S. Mormon population, and religion plays a major role in volunteerism across the state. Some 65.4% of volunteers in the state are mobilized through their religious institution, by far the largest share of any state.

Not only are Utah residents the most likely in the country to volunteer their time, they also volunteer far more of it. Volunteers in the state committed the equivalent of nearly 76 hours of their time for every resident 16 and older in 2015 alone, by far the most time of any state and well above the comparable national figure of 31 hours.