More than one-quarter of Americans did volunteer work in 2011, providing 7.9 billion hours of service worth $171 billion. Utah led among states. Iowans responded to their governor's call for volunteers.
Mike Brown/The Commercial Appeal/AP
More Americans volunteered in 2011 than in any year since 2005, a new study finds. Approximately 64.3 million Americans volunteered at charities last year, providing 7.9 billion hours of service valued at $171 billion.
The 1.5 million additional volunteers boosted the national rate to 26.8 percent of the population, a half percentage point higher than 2010. But the dollar value dipped by $2 billion, as the average number of hours Americans volunteered in a year dropped to 32.7 from 33.9, the Corporation for National and Community Service reported.
Robert Grimm, director of the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Maryland, said the increase was mainly the result of the growth in the American population, not a response to the economy or other factors.
National volunteer rates hit their peak of nearly 29 percent from 2003 to 2005 but have been stuck at around 26 percent ever since, according to a survey of about 100,000 people age 16 and older conducted by the US Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of volunteers is down from a 2005 high of 65.4 million.