Americans spent 8 billion hours volunteering in 2010

Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:09am EDT
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By Bernd Debusmann Jr.

NEW YORK, Aug 10 (Reuters Life!)- More than 60 million Americans volunteered 8.1 billion hours of their services in 2010 in work valued at nearly $173 billion, according to a new report.

Whether it is tutoring and mentoring students, fundraising, job training or assisting during natural disasters, volunteers have contributed to their communities, the report by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) showed,

Although the overall national rate of volunteerism dipped from 26.8 percent to 26.3 last year, the number of hours has remained the same, indicating that many volunteers are devoting more hours.

"Every day, volunteers of all ages are giving their time and talents to solve problems and make our country stronger," said Robert Velasco II, acting CEO of CNCS.

Minneapolis-St.Paul ranked No. 1 in volunteerism among large U.S. cities, with 37.1 percent of people giving their services. Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Rochester, New York were other urban areas with strong volunteer rates.

On a state level Utah led the way followed by Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota.

People born between 1965-1981, known as Generation X, volunteered more of their time to volunteering than ever before, contributing 2.3 billion hours in 2010 -- 110 million hours more than the year before.

Velasco said the figures show that civic involvement increases as people become more deeply rooted in their community through family, work and school ties.   Continued...

<p>A volunteer worker keeps loaves of bread in a refrigerator inside the Mary Brennan Interfaith Nutrition Network (INN) soup kitchen in Hempstead, New York June 2, 2008. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>