CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.
The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

Downward Trend in High School Volunteering

April 22nd, 2009
Tweet
Share
Email to a Friend

CIRCLE’s new fact sheet provides a 50-state breakdown of volunteering rates for teenagers, young adults, and the population over 25. Vermont, Utah & North Dakota show the highest rates; New York and Nevada among the lowest

The fact sheet as a PDF

The press release as a PDF

Tisch College, Tufts University. – Fewer high school age (16-18) Americans stepped up to volunteer their time over the past two years, new research reveals. Traditionally, teenagers have volunteered at slightly higher rates than other age groups, but in 2007 people 25 or older were more likely to volunteer than were those 16 to 18.

These are some of the findings from a study examining youth volunteering trends from 2002 to 2007 released by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College. The research presents volunteer rates by state and age groups calculated using the Current Population Survey (CPS), a joint product of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau.

Overall trends showed a 6 percentage point decline in volunteering among 16-to-18 year-olds since the rate peaked in 2005 at 33 percent. Meanwhile, volunteer rates for the population aged 19-to-25 (18 percent) and 25 years and older (28 percent) both changed very little (2 percentage points or less) since 2002.

Volunteer rates were found to vary tremendously across states and age groups, and to change from year to year. The state rates for 16-to-18 year-olds ranged from a high of 48 percent to a low of 14 percent in 2007, while in 2002 the high was 52 percent and the low 16 percent. The states with highest and lowest rates also differed for this age group. In 2007 the highest were Oregon (48 percent), Vermont (47%), Alaska and Utah (44% each). The top states in 2002 were Montana (52%), Iowa (48%) and Maryland (47%). The states with the lowest rates in 2007 were Nevada (14%),;West Virginia (15%); and New Mexico and Kentucky (18%). In 2002, Mississippi and the District of Columbia (16% each) and Tennessee (17%) were the lowest.

The state rates for college-age adults (19-to-24 year-olds) were generally lower, and again with different states leading the pack and bringing up the rear in 2002 and 2007. In 2007 the highest rates were in Utah (30%), North Dakota (29%), Maine and Washington State (28% each) and the District of Columbia (27%). While in 2002, the top states were Utah (36%) and Missouri (34%). The states with the lowest rates in 2007 were New Jersey (8%), Tennessee and Delaware (9% each). The bottom in 2002 were Massachusetts (11%), and Nevada, Tennessee and Indiana (13% each).

For the 25 and older cohort, the state volunteer rates and those with the highest and lowest rates remained relatively unchanged from 2002 to 2007. Rates in 2007 ranged from a high of 43 percent in Utah to a low of 19 percent in Nevada, Florida, New York and New Jersey. In 2002, Utah again led the pack at 49 percent and New York, Florida and Nevada had the lowest rates at 22 percent.

The study also examined the state policies impacting youth volunteering, which many researchers believe have an impact on the levels of volunteering for 16-to-18 year-olds. A Corporation for National and Community Service study found the public schools that make community service available has grown from 64 percent in 1999 to 68 percent in 2008, but those that meet the criteria for “service-learning” has declined from 32 percent in 1999 to 24 percent. Furthermore only two states, Maryland and the District of Columbia, have made volunteering a mandatory requirement to graduate from high school. Eight other states (AR, CT, DE, IA, MN, OK, RI and WI) allow service-learning activities to be counted towards high school graduation credit.


Find more analysis in our 2016 Election Center. For regular updates in your Inbox about youth and the 2016 election, sign up for CIRCLE's monthly E-Update here.

36 Responses to “Downward Trend in High School Volunteering”

  1. Topics about Communitys » Archive » Youth Volunteering in the States: 2002 to 2007 Says:

    […] CIRCLE placed an observative post today on Youth Volunteering in the States: 2002 to 2007Here’s a quick excerptAccording to a new fact sheet released by CIRCLE (download the PDF ), the volunteering rate for Americans of high-school age (16-18) has now declined for two years. It is three percentage points lower than it was in 2002 and six percentage points lower than the highest rate seen in 2005. Although short-term changes in the rate of volunteering should be interpreted with caution, and with a larger historical context in mind, it is a concern that our nation’s youth are now less likely to voluntee […]

  2. Florida Truck Driving Deemed Deadliest Job in State | Trucks Blog Says:

    […] CIRCLE – A nonpartisan research center stu&#100ying youth civic … […]

  3. Florida Truck Driving Deemed Deadliest Job in State | Trucks Blog Says:

    […] CIRCLE – A nonpar&#116isan resear&#99h &#99en&#116er s&#116udying you&#116h &#99ivi&#99 … […]

  4. Brad Rourke’s Blog » On My Radar 4/24/09 Says:

    […] volunteering down. According to a report by CIRCLE, for the first time since 9/11 youth volunteering has dipped, though it remains above the rate for […]

  5. Beth Gazley Says:

    Could somebody from CIRCLE explain why 2008 CPS data were not included in this analysis?

  6. ezinez Says:

    Nice report, downloaded and reading it.
    Thanks.

  7. Dream Directory Says:

    Hope the number will increase more and more in the future and high school pupil will have more responsibility with everybody.

  8. Wii Skins Says:

    Interesting article but I wonder what the numbers are for 08-09. Hopefully they are starting to go up.

  9. A1Article Says:

    Thanks, from your research now I can image about the future.

  10. Wave Dancing Chinese calligraphy Says:

    I really believe that high school kids should either work or volunteer. When kids have idle time is usually when they have problems and they get in trouble. Hopefully more kids try to do things for there community but I doubt it especially in inner cities.

  11. Myspace Layouts Says:

    Kids these days are really missing out. There is nothing more important than helping one another. There is no better way then with volunteering. Its something I have done and it really makes you feel good, like you made a difference.

  12. Marcel Says:

    Today at the movieswhile I was waiting for the movie to start I read the article and love it. Children are the future and anything that we can do to support them and enrich there live should be indeed everyone priority and joy.

  13. Music t-shirts Says:

    Its a shame especially in my location that kids dont do anything but play video games. The majority of the people that live on my street have kids and I never see them outside at all!

  14. Jumping Castle Hire Says:

    Many kids in my area are very involved with the community especially volunteering. I myself haven’t had much time for it but I look forward to making some time and hopefully making a difference in someones life.

  15. Online resource Says:

    This post is very cool, it give me lots of useful numbers, I like it very much.
    Thanks.

  16. Work form home scam reviews Says:

    It is so sad to know that they are so many kids lacking the proper support. What I really mean is we need to show them the way and inspire them to get active and get involve in the community. It is so easy to criticize and do nothing.
    work from home scam reviews

  17. Detox Says:

    That’s very alarming! Any idea on why the declining rate?

  18. Dena Says:

    Many kids in my area are very involved with the community especially volunteering. I myself haven’t had much time for it but I look forward to making some time and hopefully making a difference in someones life.

  19. Matrimony Says:

    This post is very cool I like it very much.
    Thanks.

  20. Amy Hewitt Says:

    Thank you a pleasant read, interesting and informative.

  21. charles Woods Says:

    Many kids in my area are very involved with the community especially volunteering. I myself haven’t had much time for it but I look forward to making some time and hopefully making a difference in someones life.

  22. jthomps Says:

    I find it interesting that the volunteer rates really don’t seem to be correlated with states’ political affiliations. You don’t see a “red state – blue state” divide here.

  23. Bollywood Says:

    That’s very alarming! Any idea on why the declining rate?

  24. Michael McCormack Says:

    I believe high school kids should work part time such as a party hire business. When kids work part time they earn pocket money. They then have the opportunity to save for the future or do things for the community by donating monies earnt.

    School kids could also help the community by organizing school fetes, fundraisors, etc. The could hire equipment such as the bucking bull, bucking penis, bouncy castle, slushee machines, fairy floss machines, etc.

    They could do this by hiring party hire equipment from places like http://www.fantasypartyhire.com.au

    At the end of the day, the responsiblity relies on the parents and how they raise their kids.

  25. Consumer Says:

    I think volunteering for high school students should be mandatory. Really what else do they have to do?? I really like it myself it made me feel like I was going beyond myself to help someone else.

  26. Web Marketing Search Engine Optimization Says:

    Thanks, from your research now, i got clear picture of future..

  27. burning calories Says:

    nice site i think.

  28. Nursing Board Exam Result Says:

    Nice to know that are youths are becoming more active. Indicates a brighter future ahead!!!

  29. Pokemon Trading Cards Says:

    I’m surprised that 16-18 year old’s ever led the pack on volunteering, but I guess they need to for college admission.

  30. Travel Says:

    Good Research..Now i got a clear picture about future..Nice to know that youths are becoming more active. Indicates a brighter future ahead…..

  31. carpet cleaner review Says:

    You’ve researched about volunteering in most of the states,very nice information.Thanks to you.

  32. Joshua Williams Says:

    They lack interest because they have limited awareness about important happenings/events around their society. Since, older people are already working, they know much more about real life situation that we are all experiencing right now.

  33. Andrew Davis Says:

    We really need to influence our youth to become more active in participating in our community. In this way, we can encourage them to improve their social awareness.

  34. Cuddy cabin boats Says:

    Thank you for this analysis because I’m student of sociological department and I need such surveys for my diploma. I think I can take this subject for the basis. Keep up your work.

  35. Video Says:

    Could somebody from CIRCLE explain why 2008 CPS data were not included in this analysis?

  36. auctions Says:

    Hopefully they are starting to go up.Thankyou for the research..