Volunteerism is a core American value. Every day, tens of millions of Americans give their time to service work in their community through a range of organizations, including sports clubs, youth groups, fire departments, and, most commonly, churches and religious organizations. Over 77 million people volunteered their time in 2018, up from 62.6 million in 2016. The value of this time is estimated at approximately $167 billion.
While nationally about 30% of adults volunteered last year, in some parts of the country, volunteering is much more common. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Corporation for National and Community Service — a federal agency that leads public service efforts across the country — to identify the states with the highest rates of volunteerism. Among the states on this list, volunteerism rates among adults range from 36% to 51%.
States where people are the most likely to volunteer tend to have much in common. For example, a recent survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that adults with higher educational attainment are more likely to volunteer. In every state on this list, the share of adults who have completed high school is higher than the 88.0% national share.
The BLS study also found that working adults are more likely to volunteer in their free time than the unemployed. On this list, only three states have a higher unemployment rate than the 3.9% national rate.
To identify the states with the highest volunteer rates, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the share of state residents 16 and older who volunteered with an organization in 2018 from the Corporation for National and Community Service. The survey also included state data on historical volunteer rates, where individuals volunteered primarily, and the types of volunteering activities. We also looked at state educational attainment rates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. Annual unemployment rates are for December 2018 and came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.