Volunteering in Connecticut Above Average, But Declining

The percentage of Connecticut residents who volunteer has dropped slightly, but the state remains above the national average, ranking 22nd among the states.  The data, compiled by The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is the most comprehensive annual collection of information on volunteering and civic life in America, reflecting nation’s civic health. The National Conference on Citizenship is a partner on the project. The 2012 Volunteering and Civic Life in America report and website provide information allowing civic leaders, nonprofit organizations,and interested individuals to retrieve a wide range of information regardingdemographic trends and rankings for volunteering and civic engagement activities intheir regions, states, and metro areas.  The 2012 report is based upon data collected in 2011.  Overall, in Connecticut:

  • 28.5% of residents volunteer, ranking the state 22nd among the 50 states and Washington, DC.  That’s a drop from 31.1% and a #15 ranking the previous year
  • 793,710 volunteers.
  • 81.7 million hours of service.
  • $1.8 billion of service contributed.
  • 29.3 volunteer hours per resident.

The report also noted that 72.8% of Connecticut residents do favors for their neighbors, 88.8% eat dinner with their family a few times a week or more, and 53.3% discuss politics a few times a month or more.  In a generational breakdown,

  • Young adult volunteer rate ranked #16 (26.3%)
  • College age ranked #24 (27.8%) state_CT_129___2011
  • Older adults ranked #14 (29%)
  • Gen X ranked #23 (32%)

Among major cities, Hartford ranked #27 (just behind Boston at #26) in 2011, down from #15 in 2010.  (From 29.8% to 26.9%.)  The top three cities were Minneapolis-St.Paul, Rochester (NY), and Seattle.  The national volunteer rate was 26.8 percent.  Top states were Utah (40.9%), Idaho (38.8%) and Iowa (38.4%)  At the bottom were New York (20.7% ) and Louisiana (19.4%).

Nationwide, the number of volunteers reached its highest level in five years, as 64.3 million Americans  state_CT_113___2011 volunteered through an organization, an increase of 1.5 million from 2010.  Americans volunteered a total of almost 8 billion hours, an estimated economic value of roughly $171 billion.  A majority of Americans assisted their neighbors in some way and more than a third actively participated in a civic, religious, or school group.

The report also found that parents of school-aged children contributed more than 2.5 billion hours of their time to volunteer efforts nationwide in 2011, most of it to school-based projects, underscoring the pivotal role that schools play as hubs for local volunteer efforts.