Not only is volunteering increasingly common among younger individuals, but it is also good for our health and wellbeing. Learn more about the current statistics and trends on personal volunteering below.
- One out of every four individuals in the United States volunteer. This adds $184 billion to our economy, which averages to approximately $23 per hour volunteered according to the Corporation for National & Community Service.
- The most active volunteers are no longer retired individuals; 35-44 year olds are now the most active volunteers relative to percentages of volunteers across other age groups. Individuals who volunteer are also twice as likely as those who don’t to make financial gifts to nonprofits according to the Corporation for National & Community Service.
- The volunteerism gender gap is getting smaller – women are more likely to be volunteers on average only 6% more often than men according to a July 2018 article on volunteering from CNN.
- Three quarters of individuals who volunteer say the experience makes them feel happier, while nearly everyone who volunteered at some point in the past year said that the experience improved their mood according to a national health and volunteering survey conducted by UnitedHealth Group.
- Nearly all individuals who volunteered shared that they felt that volunteering lowered their stress levels and enriched their sense of purpose in life, according to the national health and volunteering survey conducted by UnitedHealth Group.
- Volunteering can take many forms, from coaching a local sports team, to mentoring, to reading at the local public library. The most common forms of volunteering are in food servicing, fundraising, and teaching, and these are most likely to take place at a religious institution, educational and youth service organization, or social and community services organization, according to an infographic that pulled from several studies on Happify.
- According to a study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, volunteering improves happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, sense of control over life, physical health, and depression symptoms.
- There is a proven ‘helper’s high’. According to a study by the National Institutes of Health and written about in a Princeton University article, when individuals engage in ‘helping’ activities, like donating and volunteering, their mesolimbic system is activated. This system is known as the reward reinforcement system which releases oxytocin and vasopressin, neurotransmitters associated with good feelings. These feelings can be addictive, creating a virtuous cycle and giving life to the phrase, ‘doing good feels good’.
Do these statistics resonate with you and match what you’re seeing in your community? Let us know @StarfishMarta.
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