This article is a part of a monthly feature highlighting East-West Gateway’s Where We Stand series, which ranks St. Louis among the 50 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas (referred to as the peer regions) on topics of regional importance.
The holiday season motivates some people to give back. In St. Louis, data indicates that almost one-third of adults in the region are doing just that.
In 2017, the St. Louis metropolitan area ranked about in the middle among the peers, at 23rd, with 31.1 percent of adults volunteering. This is a slightly higher rate than on average for the peer regions (29.4 percent). The range among the peer regions is wide with almost half of adults in Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and Milwaukee volunteering and less than one-quarter of adults in Miami, Las Vegas, and Buffalo contributing time for unpaid work.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) supports a periodic supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS) to obtain information on how many adults (aged 16 years and older) volunteer.
Nationally, an estimated 77.34 million adults, almost one-third of the adult population, volunteered in 2017. Together, they provided nearly 6.9 billion hours of work without pay. CNCS places an economic value of $167 billion on this service (about $24 per hour).
CNCS reports the following as some of the key findings among U.S. adult volunteers:
- The most common types of organizations they volunteer with are religious (32 percent); sport, hobby, cultural, or arts (26 percent); and educational or youth service (19 percent).
- The most common types of activities volunteers engage in are fundraising or selling items to raise money (36 percent); collecting, preparing, distributing, or serving food (34 percent); and collecting, making, or distributing clothing, crafts, or goods (27 percent).
- Those who volunteer are two times as likely to donate to charity as those who do not volunteer.
- Adults of Generation X (aged 37 to 52 in 2017) had the highest rate of volunteering (36.4 percent).
- The Baby Boom Generation (aged 53 to 71 in 2017) was found to volunteer the most hours. This age group volunteered 2.2 billion hours, accounting for almost one-third of total volunteer hours.
A summary of this data and the CNCS report, as well as the agency’s database on volunteer opportunities is available at www.nationalservice.gov/serve.
Access more tables, data, and reports in the Where We Stand series at www.ewgateway.org/wws.
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