Study: Most American Volunteers Join Religious Organizations

The number of Americans who volunteer has remained stable in the past two years, according to a report by the U.S. government. Volunteer hours, however, decreased slightly.

Some 65.4 million people in the United States volunteered at least once in the past year, ending in September 2005, according to survey findings. The survey was conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the principal fact-finding agency for the Federal Government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics. About 60,000 households were surveyed.

Findings showed that volunteers spent a median of 50 hours doing volunteer work in 2004-2005 while three years prior to that, Americans said they spent 52 hours volunteering.

People who were the most likely to volunteer were those aged between 35 and 44. Among all American volunteers, 34.5 percent were in that age group. Behind them were those aged 45 to 54, with 32.7 percent volunteering in the past year.

Other results revealed that married people were more likely to volunteer, with 34 percent, while 23 percent of divorced, widowed or unmarried people were likely to do so. Also, more women were consistently found to volunteer than men.

Most of the American volunteers said they contributed their hours for one charity. Religious organizations had a higher percentage (35 percent) of volunteers than any other organization. Following religious organizations were educational or youth charity.