Volunteer Participation Hits Record Low

Twenty-five percent of the population participated in volunteer work, down 0.4 percent since last year


The percentage of the population who has volunteered at least once in the past year has hit the lowest level ever recorded, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There were about 62.6 million people who volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2014 and September 2015, representing 24.9 percent of the population. This declined by 0.4 percentage points from the previous year.

The agency has been tracking these data since 2002, and at that time, 27.6 percent of the population participated in some sort of volunteering work. Since then, volunteering participation hit its peak in 2003, 2004, and 2005, when it hit 28.8 percent.

"By age, 35- to 44- year olds and 45- to 54- year-olds were the most likely to volunteer (28.9 percent and 28.0 percent, respectively)," the report states. "Volunteer rates were lowest among 20- to 24-year olds (18.4 percent)."

"Among the employed, 27.2 percent volunteered during the year ending in September 2015," states the agency. "By comparison, 23.3 percent of unemployed persons and 21.4 percent of those not in the labor force volunteered."

"Persons employed in part-time were more likely than full-time workers to have participated in volunteer activities—31.1 percent versus 26.3 percent."