Volunteering in St. Louis

St. Louis once agains exceeds the rest of the nation when it comes to volunteering. According to a new report from the Corporation for National and Community Service 31.3% of St. Louis residents volunteer – ranking us 10th within the 51 large cities.  The national volunteer rate is 26.3%.  The graphic below shows how the St. Louis volunteer rate has compared to the national rate over the past 6 years- each year we have exceeded national rates.

All of the data in the latest report is based on an  average using 2008 to 2010 data.  Some other St. Louis highlights from the report show that St. Louis in 2010 had:

  • 709,700 volunteers
  • 90.2 million hours of service
  • 39.8 hours per resident – ranking us 9th within the 51 large cities
  • $1.9 billion of service contributed
  • Over the last four years, the retention rate for volunteers in St. Louis was 72 percent. On a national scale, the retention rate was 64.5 percent during this time period.

The graphic above shows where people in St. Louis are volunteering.  Religious and educational volunteering dominate with almost 65% of the total. There are a number of factors that can influence volunteer rates including education and poverty rates.

  • Volunteering Rises with Education
    For states and large metropolitan areas, as the education level increases, the likelihood of volunteering also rises. At a national level, 85.3% have a high school diploma or GED equivalent and 27.9% have a college degree. In St. Louis, 88.7% have a high school diploma or GED equivalent and 29.4% have a college degree.
  • Volunteering is Less Common in High Poverty Areas
    Poverty is another socioeconomic characteristic that tends to be strongly associated with lower volunteer rates. However, it is difficult to determine whether high poverty rates reduce the overall propensity to volunteer, whether high volunteering in a community leads to a reduction in poverty, or if both effects occur. At a National level, the poverty rate is 14.3 percent. St. Louis has a poverty rate of 12.6%.

To learn more about the national volunteer numbers and more about the factors that may influence the St. Louis volunteer rates visit the report- http://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov/MO/St.-Louis.

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