SALT LAKE CITY – For the 9th year running, Utah has been ranked first in the nation for volunteering by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
On Wednesday, Gov. Gary Herbert and the Utah Commission on Service and Volunteerism announced the 2014 Volunteering and Civic Life in America report ranked Utah as the No. 1 volunteering state in the nation for the 9th year running. The announcement was held in conjunction with release of the CNCS report.
“The VCLA report reaffirms that we have wonderful people who call Utah home and that care about their neighbors,” Herbert said. “Utahns proactively looking for opportunities to serve their community and help others save cost to government and to taxpayers. Their volunteer efforts pay significant dividends on many levels.”
Research from the VCLA 2014 report ranks Utah as the No. 1 volunteering state in the nation with 45.3 percent of adults volunteering. The report is part of the most comprehensive study of volunteering and civic engagement across the country. The data is gathered annually through the Current Population Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Data was collected on the volunteering and civic activities of Americans age 16 and older.
This year’s report is based on data collected in 2013.
According to the profile of Utah on the CNCS website, the top three volunteer activities Utahns engaged in were: tutoring and teaching at 41.6 percent; mentoring youth at 29,6 percent; and general labor and the collection/distribution of food tied at 20.5 percent.
As for informal volunteering – that is, neighbors helping neighbors – Utahns averaged 77.9 percent over the national average of 62.54 percent.
Though perhaps of little surprise to Utah residents, a majority of the volunteering through an organization, 66.2 percent, is done through a religious entity. Volunteering through education and social services organizations came in a distant second and third at 14.2 and 8.8 percent respectively.
“Utah citizens are extremely generous and consistently demonstrate their commitment to impacting the lives of individuals in their communities,” said LaDawn Stoddard, executive director for the Utah Commission on Service and Volunteerism.
The total economic value of volunteer service in Utah was $3.5 billion based on the independent sector annual estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour, which was $22.65 in 2013. More than 900,000 volunteers served approximately 154.9 million total hours.
Nationally, over 62 million adult Americans volunteered through organizations in 2013, According to a CNCS news release. Altogether, Americans volunteered nearly 7.7 billion hours last year. The estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly $173 billion, based on the independent sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour.
In addition, more than 138 million Americans (62.5 percent) also engaged in informal volunteering in their communities, helping neighbors with such tasks as watching a neighbor’s children, helping with shopping, or house sitting.
“Every day, volunteers of all ages are giving their time and talents to solve problems and make our nation stronger,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
“Whether tutoring students or connecting veterans to services or responding to natural disasters, Americans are doing extraordinary things to improve lives and strengthen communities,” Spencer said. “As they serve others, volunteers help themselves by learning new skills, increasing job prospects, and even improving their health.”
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