US Volunteers Surge 1.6M in '09

Best numbers since 2005
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 16, 2010 11:32 AM CDT
US Volunteers Surge 1.6M in '09
Comcast technician Armando Gentry records the millionth hour of volunteerism during Saturday's Comcast Cares Day employee volunteer day.   (PRNewsFoto/Comcast Corporation)

Amid rough economic times, more Americans volunteered in their communities last year than at any time since 2005, spending almost 100 million more hours helping out last year. "People are turning toward problems, rather than away from them," says the head of the federal Corporation for National and Community Service, which released the report. "People want to be part of the solution."

Some highlights:

  • The number of people getting involved soared by 1.6 million to 63.4 million, the biggest single-year increase since 2003 and the highest total since 2005.
  • States with high rates of unemployment and foreclosure had lower volunteer rates, but the volunteer group chief said people in these affected areas are still pitching in—just informally.
  • Women largely contributed to the jump, with 36.7 million volunteering, up 1.2 million from 2008. More blacks also gave their time.
  • Of the people in the country aged 16 or older, 26.8% volunteered last year, a slight increase from the 26.4% who gave back in 2008.
  • Utah had the highest volunteer rate, with 44.2%; New York came in last with 19%.
(Read more volunteerism stories.)

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